The secret to happiness may not involve coming to grips with difficult times or dark moods, as many people (and some experts) believe. Rather, it may rest in immersing yourself more fully in the positive aspects of life.
Lingering on the Good Life
Researchers in New Zealand asked people to record their “pleasant events” in diaries for a month and note if they tended to savor or squelch them. Turns out, those who savored were happiest. Likewise, a Washington State University study found that those experiencing hard times got a big mood boost from savoring special moments.
Your Turn to Savor
To slow down and learn how to do this more often, first realize there are two facets to savoring: part little-kid abandon (laughing out loud) and part mature wisdom (carpe diem). Depending on your personality, both are effective. With this in mind, plan a savoring adventure. It can be a trip to an amusement park (roller coaster, front car, hands up!), a walk through downtown or the park (smell, listen, touch, don’t just look), or a meal at a new restaurant (small slice of something decadent). Whatever option you choose, do these three things:
- Anticipate what you’ve planned.
- Use all five senses to experience it.
- Reminisce later.
Savoring is particularly well suited for travelers. New surroundings help halt the rush of life, break habits, and make us more aware.