Learning to savour the good moments in life is one of the keys to being happier, research finds.
Even something as simple as a meaningful conversation can be savoured and enjoyed again many years later.
The key to savouring is being open and present.
Once you notice you are enjoying something pleasant:
- Start to think about why it is good,
- connect it to other pleasant experiences,
- and think about how it could be better.
With practice, anyone can learn to squeeze more happiness out of the same experiences.
Dr Maggie Pitts, the study’s author, said:
“Savoring is prolonging, extending and lingering in a positive or pleasant feeling.
First, you feel something pleasant, then you feel pleasant about feeling pleasant, and that is where savoring comes in.
It’s not just feeling good; it’s feeling good about feeling good, and then trying to trap that feeling.”
For the study, Dr Pitts asked people about conversations they had savoured.
She found that we savour all types of conversations: everything from inspiring speeches and intimate disclosures to simple physical contact or hand gestures.
Generally, people enjoyed the communication in the moment, but that is not the only way to get pleasure from it.
Dr Pitts said:
“You can time travel through savoring.
I can sit here now and think of something that happened earlier today or yesterday or 25 years ago, and when I recall that savoring moment I physiologically experience savoring, and that makes me feel relaxed and puts me in a good mood and can really boost my moment.
There’s also this idea of anticipatory savoring.
People do this when they plan for a vacation or a honeymoon or the weekend.
We anticipate and we have that good feeling that helps us in the moment.”
→ Read on: 4 life-savouring strategies.
The study was published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology (Pitts et al., 2018).