Savoring the Moment – An Exercise and Reflection Questions

When was the last time you were able to take in the beauty of a sunset, the smell of fresh herbs, the peacefulness of a walk through the woods, the look of sheer joy in the eyes of a child?

Our lives are often so busy with “getting stuff done” and overwhelmed by everyday stress or negative affect that it is easy to miss the moments of sheer awe.

When we take a mindful moment to allow ourselves to savor a moment, we can be lifted outside of our usual selves and connect with something larger and more significant.  Savoring the moment can help us develop a broader sense of connectedness and purpose, relieve negative moods, and even improve happiness levels.

In my own experience of savoring the moment, I have been on a 15-month journey to restore my health after a nasty infection.  The infection affected several organs, especially my digestion, and I experienced chronic pain and food reactivity over a long period of time. 

Now that I’m on the recovery side of this infection, I had a moment a few days ago where my body was simply quiet… there was no pain or swelling, my breath flowed easily.  I had an intense moment of remembering what it was to feel my full health. 

With this moment came feelings of happiness, peace, and hope began to return. I was no longer focused on managing my discomfort but became acutely aware of the sounds around me – the lawnmowers in my neighborhood, the birds chirping like crazy (thinking “when did we get so many birds in our neighborhood?”) and eating food without side effects.  It was a moment of being fully mindful of what was happening both in and around me – without jumping up to get more stuff done now that I felt better.

What moments in your life would benefit by savoring?

Do you rush through celebrations and accomplishments without allowing yourself to experience the joy of completion?  Are you missing out on enjoying the beauty in the home that you work so hard for?  Or, maybe you’re so busy getting the kids to all the places that they need to be, that you’re forgetting they’ll only be this age once.

Try this exercise to experience awe and make savoring the moment a practice.

Instructions

Planning
Consider what one cue is likely to be most powerful in helping you develop a daily savoring habit. This may be linked to the time of the day that you feel you would most benefit from taking out 2-3 minutes to savor the present or may be a well-established cue that you know happens every day, e.g. checking social media notifications. You may choose to set a repeated alarm or notification on one of your devices to remind you. Commit to trying this for a week before experimenting with alternative times or cues.

Trigger the Savoring Moment
When your cue triggers your attention, take a deep breath and draw your attention to the present moment. What sights, sounds, smells do you notice? Allow yourself to pay mindful attention to the experience of awe for your environment. Now take a moment to bask in a sense of pride at your personal accomplishments today or experience a sense of gratitude for your good fortune today. Finally, take one more depth breath and luxuriate in the sense of pleasure you feel in response to these reflections.

Post Savoring Reflections

Make some notes in your journal about the sensations you experienced during your moment of savoring and how you were impacted.

  • What positive emotions did you experience?
  • Did you experience any negative emotions as a result of the savoring the moment?
  • Did you find yourself looking forward to the cue to trigger savoring or was it a challenge to carve out that time?
  • How did savoring the moment impact on your awareness, mood, attention and behavior afterwards?
  • Did you experience the remainder of the day any differently to a normal day?

After a week of savoring the moment experiences, reflect on:

  • Will you continue experimenting with a savoring habit?
  • Would an alternative time or cue make the habit more effective to embed?
  • What else did you learn from this experience?

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