How to Savor Life

Savoring is usually applied to eating good food: take a single square of dark chocolate and put it in your mouth, but don’t chew and swallow it.

Let it sit there, as you savor it, noticing its earthy notes, hints of citrus, the richness of its texture as it melts in your mouth. You swallow it almost regretfully after letting it linger, fully appreciating the deliciousness of it.

But savoring food is just the start: you can savor anything, and you should. It’s wonderful. And it changes everything.

Savoring can teach you to be mindful, to stop procrastinating, to finally exercise, to eat less and more healthfully, to live life in the present, and much more.

Let’s look at how. And, as you read this, I urge you to slow down from your usual busy practice of reading quickly, and savor the reading of this article.

The Practice

The savoring of a square of dark chocolate is a great practice you can do once a day.

When you savor tea, or chocolate, or a handful of berries, you slow down. You pay close attention and the closer you pay attention, the more you’ll get out of the savoring. You don’t rush to the next thing, but stop and give some space to the activity. You aren’t worried about what you have to do later, you are fully enjoying the present.

This is savoring, and it takes practice. You can do it right now, wherever you are: pause and look around you and savor this very moment. Even if it doesn’t seem to be special, because let’s face it what you are doing you have done a thousand times, but savor it anyway. Fully appreciate the gift you’ve been given.

This is a practice you can do several times a day. Find a few rituals for savoring, like enjoying your morning tea or coffee, or taking a bath, or reading or playing to your child, or snuggling with a loved one. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

On the Subject of Procrastination

We procrastinate because we are uncomfortable doing something and want to do more comfortable (easier or more familiar) things instead. We don’t want to write that report/article/chapter, because it’s difficult, and it’s easier to check emails and take care of a bunch of little tasks. It’s easier to put off those dreaded tasks.

But savoring can help. Let’s take writing as an example (the process is the same for anything, from cleaning your bathroom to doing taxes), when you savor, you take this task of writing, and you slow down.

Give the task some space, no switching quickly to the next thing. Pay attention to it and find the enjoyable aspects of it. And actually, there are enjoyable aspects of any activity, if you slow down and pay attention.

When you savor, you will notice these things, and fully enjoy them. Bask in the moment of doing, and let yourself soak in its pleasure.

So instead of switching to something else, sit there with the writing. Notice your urge to switch and let it go. After all, you are savoring this, so you can’t just switch.

And you just do the writing, and notice how your fingers feel as they move over the keys, and enjoy the pouring of your thoughts onto the screen, and notice your breathing, your shoulders, your jaw, your legs, your feet, as you sit and write.

Doing the Perfect Thing Right Now

A constant source of anxiety for most people, in this day and age when we can do almost anything at any moment, is: “Am I doing the right thing, right now? Should I be exercising instead? Should I be checking what else is going on, in my social networks? Are other people doing something better? Is there a better way to do this, a better tool, a smarter method, a faster way?”

When you savor, this anxiety can melt away. You are savoring this activity, you let the thoughts of everything else go away, and immerse yourself. You give it space and just do this, and fully appreciate it. And so you know that you’re doing the perfect thing, right now, whatever it is, because nothing can be as delicious as savoring this moment.

Living in the Present

Savor everything you do, every experience. There is no moment that cannot be savored — even those routine moments, even those times when you’re having a conflict with someone else, even those times when you’re alone with nothing to do.

Savoring is about learning to live presently, to fully enjoy the gift of each moment, to give that moment space and attention it deserves. It takes practice, but it’s a delicious practice.

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