Dr Sima Patel
“Stay present, and continue to observe what is happening inside you… Then see what happens” Eckhart Tolle
Do You Want to Make Summer Last Longer - Recalling and Creating Positive Experiences?
It is so easy to get straight back into work mode / home life / studying life but it is essential to our wellbeing to spend time savouring our enjoyable summer experiences and making time in our daily lives to appreciate that feeling of carefree days when our shoulders are relaxed, our minds are set free and our bodies feel strong yet flexible, especially as September’s weather has stretched out summer for us.
Savouring is about noticing and becoming more aware of things that give you a jolt of positive emotions: joyful experiences, beauty, love, empathy, connection to others and so on.
It also really helps us to live in the moment because savouring is about stopping and taking that moment out of life and fully engaging in the experience.
Savouring takes up our time so why should we spend time on an activity like this. Research shows that savouring helps us to create positive emotions and positive emotions look after our health and mental wellbeing.
Find out How to Practise the Art of Savouring
The following strategies can be used to savour your joyful experiences, not just those from this summer holiday but any moments of joy you choose to recollect.
Recall nostalgic times – on your own, with friends or with family. Remember a particularly good or happy moment in life and take the time to savour it and relive the pleasure you got out of it. Go through your photographs – these are just triggers to recall the experiences. Look at a photograph and then recall the joyful or funny experience that took place when it was captured. Hopefully, this will bring back happy memories for you creating positive emotions. Imagination – transport yourself to another time and place or simply enjoy an image of something you like to savour. The beautiful calm sea with Mediterranean colours under a deep blue sky, a picnic on the South Downs, eating delicious cake in a tea garden surrounded by beautiful wild poppies, a beautiful mountain vista with the whisper of a breeze amongst the golden silence and so on.
Relish the Ordinary – take time to savour something you usually rush through or ignore such as walking to work, eating a meal, chatting to family and friends. Notice the environment around you as you walk to work, see what happens when you take a whole minute to eat just one chocolate raisin and notice what happens when you talk to someone without being on social media at the same time. Take pleasure from these everyday times rather than just letting them pass by. Make others 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.
Happy Days – if you have a particularly good day, keep it in mind as something you can always savour later on a rainy day although even rainy days are good for the gardens.
Celebrate – whether it is good news or getting a small, medium or large project done. Generally we get one thing done and move straight onto the next. However, see what you notice when you 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 will really start to look forward to these little “self-celebrations” for completing almost anything.
Be open to beauty and excellence– nature gives us overwhelming beauty but so does some architecture. Observe what you experience when you stop for a moment and notice the glorious sunrise or sunset or the art deco building or the creative way that a meal has been presented. See how you feel when you revel in the glory of these experiences. Be open to any experience of beauty or excellence out there, build awareness of these things, then take the time to savour them.