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1. Ready

What is Savouring?

Savouring involves being attentive and appreciative of a particular, pleasurable experience (ex. sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch). Savouring is found at the intersection of mindfulness and positivity.
Fred Bryant, Kennelly, S. (2012, July 23). 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life. Greater Good Magazine.
a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, highlighted the importance of savouring by explaining that “we don’t always respond to … “good things” in ways that maximize their positive effects on our lives”. Savouring is a way to maximize the positive effect of “good things” by stretching your experience of time.

It’s possible to savour across three different dimensions of time:

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Reminisce: Savouring the past. Bryant, F., Smart, C., & King, S. (2005). Using the Past to Enhance the Present: Boosting Happiness Through Positive Reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260.

Bryant, F., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Reminiscing involves recalling pleasant memories from the past and is most beneficial when you use a particular strategy (ex. mental imagery, photographs) to intensify memory recall. Reminiscing often takes the form of storytelling. These stories can be savoured by both the storyteller and the audience receiving the story. It’s important to note that reminiscing about pleasant memories in the past should not be used to escape present problems. In fact, reminiscing in this way may actually “be maladaptive because it makes [your] current situation seem even worse”.
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Attentive: Savouring the present. Hurley, D., & Kwon, P. (2013). Savoring Helps Most When You Have Little: Interaction Between Savoring the Moment and Uplifts on Positive Affect and Satisfaction with Life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1261–1271.
Being attentive and appreciative of what is happening right now, increases the amount of time you spend engaging with positive emotions. You can savour the present by taking the time to enjoy something that you normally do in a hurry. For example, you can slow down and savour food: Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests that “when we taste with attention, even the simplest foods provide a universe of sensory experience”.
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Anticipate: Savouring the future.
Anticipation involves imagination and therefore tends to be the hardest of the three savouring orientations. You can imagine positive, future possibilities, picture your best possible self, or envision your dreams becoming reality. The more detailed your imagination, the better.

Although each of these savouring orientations can be practiced independently,
“the richest experiences of savouring involve an awareness of the past and the future, as well as the present”. Vanderkam, L. (2018, June 12). What’s a delightful way to get more time out of the day? Savouring. IDEAS.TED.COM.


In the book, “Savouring: A New Model of Positive Experience”,
Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff Bryant, F., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
also talk about four different savouring processes, which each regulate a specific emotional state:

  1. Thanksgiving: A world-focused view that requires cognitive reflection and regulates gratitude (ex. giving thanks before a meal)
  2. Basking: A self-focused view that involves self-examination and celebrating yourself, and regulates pride (ex. reminiscing on successes by sharing accomplishments)
  3. Marveling: A world-focused view that necessitates being absorbed in an experience and regulates awe (ex. watching a beautiful sunrise)
  4. Luxuriating: A self-focused view and immersive experience that regulates physical pleasure (ex. easing into a hot bath)

How do I savour?

There are 10 things you can do to savour good things in life: Bryant, F., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Kennelly, S. (2012, July 23). 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life. Greater Good Magazine.


  1. Share with others: Tell others about the good news or positive events that are happening in your life. Savouring has been identified as an essential component of long-term relationships and can be thought of as “the glue that bonds people together”.  
  2. Make memories: Look for good things and pause to build conscious awareness of the small, meaningful moments.
  3. Congratulate yourself: Congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished, reflect on your successes, and pat yourself on the back.
  4. Sharpen sensory experiences: Savour sensory experiences by becoming more mindful of the tastes, smells, and sights you experience.  
  5. Put it into perspective: Increase your positivity and optimism about the current situation by comparing it to a less pleasant situation that you’ve endured.
  6. Get absorbed: Try to lose yourself in the moment by limiting distractions and turning off your conscious thoughts.    
  7. Behavioural expression: Laugh, smile, jump, scream, sing. Do whatever you need to outwardly express your good feelings.
  8. Remember that time flies when you’re having fun: Instead of wishing that the good times could last longer, enjoy them while they’re happening.
  9. Count your blessings: Give thanks before meals, express your appreciation for family and friends, or identify three things that you are grateful for every day.
  10. Avoid negative thinking: Try to find the silver lining or positive side to every situation and, when something good happens, don’t kill-joy by thinking of the moment ending or what might go wrong.

Why is it important to savour experiences?

Research has shown that “positive events alone are not enough to bring about happiness. People [also] need to be able to
attend to and appreciate the positive feelings that emerge from positive events”. Bryant, F., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
People who savour positive experiences
tend to be more Bryant, F. B. (2003). Savoring beliefs inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savouring. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), 175-196.
satisfied with life, more optimistic, happier, and have higher self-esteem. Savouring also
buffers against negative events Bryant, F. B. (2003). Savoring beliefs inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savouring. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), 175-196.
and has been related to lower levels of depression, hopelessness, guilt, and neuroticism. Savouring works by creating an upward spiral of positive experiences: When you take the time to pause and savour the past, present, or future, you increase positive affect, which leads to a heightened awareness of positive events. Moreover, savouring counters the hedonic treadmill – a phenomenon that describes the tendency to habituate/adapt to life circumstances and which underpins why, in general,
lottery winners aren’t happier than non-winners. Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(8), 917–927.


Research has also shown that sharing positive experiences with others (the first tool for savouring) has both
interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits: Gable, S., Reis, H., Impett, E., & Asher, E. (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 228–245.
For individuals, sharing positive events increases the number of positive emotions experienced in a day and improves wellbeing. In relationships, sharing positive experiences leads to greater relationship satisfaction and closer connections.

One of the incredible things about savouring is that it has the
most benefits Hurley, D., & Kwon, P. (2013). Savoring Helps Most When You Have Little: Interaction Between Savoring the Moment and Uplifts on Positive Affect and Satisfaction with Life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1261–1271.
for people who experience the least positive events.

Where can I learn more?

Psychology Today – What is Savouring and Why Is It the Key to Happiness?

Greater Good Magazine – 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life

Greater Good in Action – Raisin Meditation (Mindful Eating)

TED Talk – Want to be happier? Stay in the moment by Matt Killingsworth

What will students learn?

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to…

  • Cultivate positivity by savouring positive experiences
  • Identify and use different time orientations to savor the past, present, and future
  • Practice mindful eating by using their senses to explore food
  • Effectively use storytelling as a tool to savour the past
References
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Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(8), 917–927.

Bryant, F. B. (2003). Savoring beliefs inventory (SBI): A scale for measuring beliefs about savouring. Journal of Mental Health, 12(2), 175-196.

Bryant, F. B., Chadwick, E. D., & Kluwe, K. (2011). Understanding the processes that regulate positive emotional experience: Unsolved problems and future directions for theory and research on savoring. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), 107-126.

Bryant, F., Smart, C., & King, S. (2005). Using the Past to Enhance the Present: Boosting Happiness Through Positive Reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260.

Bryant, F., & Veroff, J. (2007). Savoring : a new model of positive experience. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Gable, S., Reis, H., Impett, E., & Asher, E. (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 228–245.

Hurley, D., & Kwon, P. (2013). Savoring Helps Most When You Have Little: Interaction Between Savoring the Moment and Uplifts on Positive Affect and Satisfaction with Life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1261–1271.

Kennelly, S. (2012, July 23). 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life. Greater Good Magazine.

Vanderkam, L. (2018, June 12). What’s a delightful way to get more time out of the day? Savouring. IDEAS.TED.COM.

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