We are into the home stretch now. The ninth activity you can use to boost your happiness from “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky is:
Savouring Life’s Little Joys
I will admit, this is my favourite of the activities, as it seems to come fairly naturally to me.
When I first read this book, this was the one I started first and had the more success with.
This morning (despite that it is February) I went for a walk. It was a couple degrees above 0 (that’s Celsius for our American friends – so roughly 38 Fahrenheit) but the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. There was so much to savour, the beauty of the ice on the creek, the sun on my face, splashing through puddles like a child. All in all a wonderful experience.
The benefit of this activity is that is plays right into the “HOW” of positive emotions. You are always noticing and becoming more aware of things that give you a jolt of positive emotions: beauty, love, empathy, and so on.
It also really helps us as “stress-out-and-way-to-busy-people” to live in the moment. You can’t savour something “in passing”. You have to stop and take that moment out of life and fully engage in the savouring. This is practically the definition of “living in the moment”.
So here are some ways you can try this for yourself:
- Relish the Ordinary – in other words, take the time to savour something you usually rush through or ignore. A child’s smile, a meal, a hot bath, walking to work, etc). One the tricks to this is really get into that moment and try to make the pleasure from it last as long as possible.
- Do It With Others – for those of you who are always around others, make them a part of your savouring. Enjoy a cup of good tea or coffee, walk through a garden, whatever works for you and your friends, but remember, the point is to be fully in that moment, not just talking about “life” as you ignore the beauty of the flowers.
- Get Nostalgic – with friends or family or on your own. Remember a particularly good or happy moment in life and take the time to savour it and relive the please you got out of it.
- Use Imagination – like getting nostalgic – this is doing it all on your own, transporting yourself to another time and place or simply an image of something you like to savour. A beautiful mountain vista from that trip to the Rockies as a child, whatever works.
- Happy Days – if you have a particularly goo d day, keep it in mind as something you can always savour later on.
- Celebrate – whether it is good new or getting a big project done at work (or even just finishing the day at work). Far, far, far too often we do not take the time to celebrate accomplishments, large or small. We may get a pat on the back from the boss and a “well done” and think, “well I’m glad that is done”, but then we start on the next thing right away. Take the time to STOP and savour this moment of achievement, really let it soak in and let it lift you up. If you keep doing this you’ll really start to look forward to these little “self-celebrations” for completing almost anything.
- Be open to beauty and Excellence – like on my walk today, I noticed the beauty of the ice on the river as I crossed a bridge over it. I almost kept going, but I took the moment to stop and look and revel in the glory of nature. Be open to any experience of beauty or excellence out there, build awareness of these things, then take the time to savour them.
OK so I could go on (there are lots of other activities listed in the book), but I’ve been noticing my posts getting longer and longer and I want to try and keep them a reasonable length.
I’ll say this though, if this is the one activity you want to try, drop me a line, I’m a pro now and I’d love to help you get started.
Next time: Committing To Goals
Until then, keep laughing – and savour every moment of it.