Savoring Life: A Mindful Approach to Finding Contentment
Life is not an emergency, yet it can be easy to approach everyday activities with a sense that it is. There is an immediacy to getting just about anything and everything done. This causes a tendency to rush and can create anxiety because you are thinking ten steps ahead. Living in this rushed manner activates the stress response causing internal distress and will negatively impacting your overall health. More importantly, it causes us to miss out on life as it is happening: right here, right now.
When you are rushing and stressed it is difficult to find contentment. The mind will wish for things to be different than they are based on your perceptions of your anxiety provoking thoughts. Learning to slow down, plan and focus, while at the same time opening yourself to finding beauty in the non-obvious, the mundane, and the everyday pleasures that we may otherwise take for granted, creates the opportunity to savor life. Savoring improves the quality of your life by creating more joy, peace and contentment.
When you savor this moment, you are truly taking it in. When you are engaged in the moment, you are being present in the here and the now. This is the only place where your life is unfolding. When you are stuck in thoughts, rushing or living inside your to-do list, you are pulled away from your life and living mindlessly, creating a state of internal discontent.
Becoming present allows you to live in the only place life truly exists: The Now! Learning to savor life, to really take it in, to be present, creates a deeply enriching experience of being alive. When you are fully engaged in the present moment you can create space to let go of the past-future web of thoughts and create a deeper sense of contentment, peace and joy.
All of your past can only exist in memory and all of your future can only exist as a fantasy. When you take time to plan for your future in the present moment, this is still engaging with the now. When you spend time reminiscing you are savoring a memory, when you are reflecting on the past you create an opportunity to learn and grow. These are opportunities to engage with the now in a specific and intentional manner.
Savoring the little things, the beautiful elements that every moment has to offer, creates an awareness of the abundance that exists in your life right now. Savoring creates an ability to shift to gratitude as you are present and focusing on what you do have, not what you do not have.
Try this practice: Today, pick one element of your day to truly savor. Whether it’s a meal, your morning coffee or tea, a moment with someone you care about, gazing at a flower, an experience of a pleasant emotion or the experience of awareness, find something you can be completely present with, notice and enjoy. Allow the experience of savoring this to really sink into your being. Notice the impact on how your body feels as you savor, notice the impact on your mood state, your thoughts and your energy. Take time to reflect on how it feels to savor, to take in something simple, an element of your life you may have otherwise passed by.
Challenge yourself to savor at least one element of each day. Challenge yourself to slow down, be present, and remind yourself that life is not an emergency! Reflecting on your experience of savoring at the end of the day will help to keep you engaged with this practice—creating a positive reminder to keep savoring. This also allows you to feel and experience the pleasant feelings once again.
When you look for beauty, you find it. When you open yourself to recognizing the abundance that exists right now, you can connect with a sense of gratitude. Notice the impact as you integrate this powerful tool to build more contentment within your life. Savor the now. Savor your life.