Think Now: What Rhymes With Favor and Boosts Your Joy?

By Marilynn Preston

March 5, 2019 5 min read

Savor rhymes with favor, and if it's not in your vocabulary, it should be. Why? Because learning to savor is a wonderfully effective steppingstone to greater happiness, according to the latest research in positive psychology. And yet, these days — when so many of us are feeling chronically rushed and endlessly distracted — who has time for savoring?

Which is why I find Fred Bryant's work so appealing. Fred is a psychology professor at Loyola University in Chicago, and he's been studying happiness for 38-plus years. While other researchers focus on what to do if you're not happy — how to deal with trauma, depression, the evening news — Bryant's pioneering work shines light on the positive experiences in life and how to process and appreciate them. That's what savoring is all about, and it does wonders for your well-being.

"How do people transform a positive experience into something wonderful they feel?" Bryant asked Loyola magazine's Maura Sullivan Hill. "Happiness is not in the events, it is in us. The most wonderful thing has no effect on us until we transform it in our own minds and the way we react to it."

As your most personal trainer, let me repeat: Happiness is not in the events, it is in us.

It is in us to find joy. But it's a skill we have to work at because if we don't consciously shift to the positive, the mind attaches to the negative. This was extremely useful when we humans were being chased by wild tigers, but that hardly ever happens anymore.

"We pay more attention to the hassles and the problems in our lives, and are more fond of counting woes and worries than our joys and our blessings," Bryant says. "We need to pay more attention to the good by savoring."

How do we do that? Here are a few of Bryant's best tips:

— MAKE TIME. It's hard to savor the moment when you're folding towels. So take time to do things that you truly enjoy — relaxing with a book, playing with your kids, practicing the accordion. When positive feelings result, notice them. Savor them. If you don't make your happiness a priority, who will?

— TAKE MENTAL PHOTOGRAPHS. When you're caught up in an experience that produces positive feelings — joy, gratitude, laughter — stop and take a snapshot in your mind. "Swish those feelings around," Bryant says, so you can easily revisit the experience later and double the joy.

— DON'T WAIT FOR SOMETHNG GOOD TO HAPPEN. Instead, find some small moments in your life worth savoring — the stillness of sunset, the first bite of dark chocolate. "Then you can have a good laugh at the absurdity of trying so hard to keep it together in world that is beyond your control," says Bryant.

Here are a few more suggestions from Barry Boyce, the editor-in-chief of Mindful magazine, to think about and savor:

— "When you're with others, savor the companionship."

— "When you're alone, savor the space."

— "When it's boring, savor the freedom."

This last one seems especially relevant these days, when we spend so much time avoiding boredom. We ride the bus plugged into our music. We struggle with the tediousness of washing dishes.

In such moments, just let your mind be. Free yourself from the need to be entertained every minute. Be curious about your so-called boredom. See where it takes you and savor what you discover.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! UPS AND DOWNS HAPPEN

"There is no doubt that life can be a bumpy ride. But so were those roller coasters you loved as a kid. Savor the adventure." — Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Marilynn Preston is the author of "Energy Express," America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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