Savoring What You Still Have: Appreciating it before it’s gone

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

This week I’ve been thinking about the old adage, “We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.”

Who knew we’d have to wear masks everywhere we go? Or that we’d have to social distance from our family and friends? Or that we’d be working from home, or maybe even lose our jobs? Who knew our lives and communities would change so drastically?

As I see the news about the terrible wildfires out west, I also think of all the people who’ve had to evacuate their homes or have lost them in the fires.

As I reflect on so many losses our world is suffering, I’m trying to get better at appreciating what I still have. 

One of my favorite ways is to intentionally savor the good I usually take for granted. Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago and an expert on savoring, says, “It’s been presumed that when good things happen, people naturally feel joy for it,” However, his research suggests that we’re not very good at noticing or appreciating positive experiences. But if we slow down and mindfully become engaged and aware of these moments, we can increase our happiness.

These can be simple things like enjoying a warm breeze or hearing from a friend. Or they can be reflecting on the more important things we may have like our health, our home, and our family, as a few examples.

Here are 10 ways Dr. Bryant says we can build our savoring skills. Check out the full article here.

  1. Share your good feelings with others
  2. Take a mental photograph
  3. Congratulate yourself
  4. Sharpen your sensory perceptions
  5. Shout it from the rooftops
  6. Compare the outcome to something worse
  7. Get absorbed in the moment
  8. Count your blessing and give thanks
  9. Avoid killjoy thinking
  10. Remind yourself how fast time flies

Right now I’m savoring the sunshine and warmer temperatures after a week of gray, cold, and rain where I live. I’m sharing my good feelings with others, and I’m trying to take a mental snapshot while I experience it with every one of my senses.

Look around. What can you savor right now? Before it’s gone?

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