Tricks for Savoring Summer’s Fleeting Delights by Laura Vanderkam
Psychological research has yielded various techniques for helping us to get more from our best moments—and even to plan for them.
By Laura Vanderkam
…. I was first introduced to “savoring” as a practical concept through the work of the research psychologists Fred B. Bryant and the late Joseph Veroff. In their 2006 book, “Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience,” they noted that psychologists have long studied how some resilient people learn to cope with difficulty.
They thought it was an equally interesting adaptation to learn how to savor good things. As they showed, it’s possible to take active steps to make life’s happy moments feel richer and last longer.
… It also helps to figure out how to make your recall of good moments more vivid and lasting. Modern types already take copious photos, but often mindlessly.
A better approach? Try to commit details to memory and think about describing the experience to someone else. Then make a point of doing just that, because recounting a memory lets you relive the experience, doubling the happiness.
…. These strategies help us to savor obviously pleasurable experiences. Life in general, unfortunately, can be harder to enjoy. The brain’s natural background state is negative.
No one wants to get eaten by wild animals, so perhaps our ancestors did better loping around on constant high alert. We are primed to survey our surroundings for every sort of threat or possible source of unhappiness.
Good stuff doesn’t demand our attention in the same way. You have to seek it out. That’s why the most powerful savoring strategy may be mental time travel.
… No one can enjoy every moment, but it is possible to enjoy enough.
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