Savoring Your Positive Emotions

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked a lot about the importance of our positive emotions and the research that suggests positive emotions might:

  • contribute to our wellbeing (our ability to feel good and function effectively).

  • help us learn through broadening our perspectives and building our skills.

  • bolster our resiliency.

This week, I want to share another tool that may help us experience more positive emotions: savoring. Savoring is the process in which positive experiences are noticed, appreciated, and enhanced (Bryant and Veroff, 2007). Positive experiences can become more positive when relived in positive social situations, such as when shared and relived by describing it to someone. Savoring can be focused on your own experiences, such as savoring a positive event from the past, the present, or even something you are looking forward to. Savoring may also take the form of marveling when it has a more world or existential focus, such as marveling at nature, the connectedness of the world, or the beauty of humanity. Savoring prolongs the enjoyment of the positive emotions and can even intensify these good feelings.

For myself and my students, I always valued the development of coping skills. We need coping skills to help us manage the negative experiences we face in life. However, we also need tools to maximize the positive experiences we have. Savoring can be the superpower for squeezing more enjoyment out of good experiences.

A few ways to experiment with savoring and see if it works for you might be: 

  • sharing positive experiences (ethically and appropriately) in positive social situations.

  • journaling about what went well during the day.

  • writing down a positive memory.

  • keeping a scrapbook or some kind of record of positive events (I know lots of teachers and administrators with a bulletin board filled with happy memories from their careers).

Reference:

Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring: A new model of positive experience. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Rachel Hallquist