Savor (part 2)

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Savor (part 2)

Savor the dance of life… it sounds good, right?


The word savor brings up images of sipping a delicious hot soup on a cool winter day, taste buds tingling from the heat, flavor erupting in tiny starbursts in your mouth. Taking time to inhale the aroma before indulging. Enjoying the anticipation of moment the liquid touches your lips. Most of us associate savoring with experiencing the good things in life.


But how do we know what to savor?


In her groundbreaking research on positivity, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson suggests that the positive emotions are a good place to start. In her research, she highlights the benefit of putting on-purpose attention on emotions like hope, joy, inspiration, awe, gratitude and love on a daily basis. What’s more, she suggests lingering with them – savoring the physical sensations you feel in your body as they run through you.


For Fredrickson, it isn’t enough to simply notice them and move on. Positive emotions, like the tiny new buds on a blossoming tree, are fragile. With practice, they can broaden your vision and help you build lasting resilience. Yet they require active cultivation to make the most of them.


Think for a moment about the last time, for example, you felt joy. How long did it last?


Many of us learned at a young age that it was dangerous to be too happy… too hopeful… too proud. In order to avoid the risk of jinxing ourselves, we dip our toes in briefly, then hurry on to the next to-do. Others simply decided for practical reasons that, while negative emotions provide important information and should be heeded (e.g. I feel fear, I better not act), positive emotions were simply fluff and not worth a second though. Still others use forced versions of positive emotions as a way to avoid all the bad stuff, watering down their impact when they are truly sincere.


A dramatic portrayal of our collective dysfunction? Maybe.


But take a moment and seriously think about your own relationship with positivity. Do you judge? Avoid? Over indulge?


I have to admit, I started out as a skeptic too. Granted, I recently decided to enroll in a masters program on Positive Psychology. But the truth is, I wasn’t entirely sold on the importance of positive emotions. I am a brooder. I have always believed it’s important to let yourself feel life’s challenges all the way through. (And I still do.)


But something is changing for me lately. Over time, I’ve noticed that allowing myself to experience more positive emotion each day creates a well of available resources that I can tap into, even when I’m feeling low. Like an energy reserve, this well serves to fuel me on the up days, and nourish me through the downs.


This week I invite you to put your attention on your positive emotions. Get to know them. Which come easily? Which less so? Are there any that make your skin crawl?


What would be possible if you allowed yourself to savor even those?


In your movement practice,

try stretching the upper limit of your positivity range. If emotions were a game, movement the playing field, and your physical sensations were he score card, how would you play? How high can you get? How much joy (or love, or inspiration) can your body handle? There’s no need to change anything about the way you move – just adjust the way you put your attention on how it feels.


Savor the good stuff and let it expand.


In life,

you can indulge in a similar game. Yes, you can. I give you 100% full permission to do it… and to enjoy it. Stop looking over your shoulder to see if someone is keeping score – “ok that’s one good thing… now I’ve got to send her a bad one to balance things out.” Tempting, I know. But the truth is, God doesn’t actually think that way.


So you can stop tamping it down now, and just enjoy… or not ;)


The choice is entirely yours.


Grinning, at this point, from ear to ear…




PS – For more on Dr. Fredrickson’s work check out the book Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral that will Change Your Life.


PPS – If you enjoyed this blog… please share!


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