HAPPINESS IN THE PRESENT
Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience by Fred B. Bryant (Author), Joseph Veroff (Author)
This book is about savoring life—the capacity to attend to the joys, pleasures, and other positive feelings that we experience in our lives. The authors enhance our understanding of what savoring is and the conditions under which it occurs.
According to Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff (2007), savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life – the positive counterpart to coping. Savoring is more than pleasure – it also involves mindfulness and “conscious attention to the experience of pleasure” (p. 5). You can savor vicariously, enjoying another person’s pleasure.
Mindfulness ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/ noun
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn recruited chronically ill patients not responding well to traditional treatments to participate in his newly formed eight-week stress-reduction program, which we now call Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Since then, substantial research has mounted demonstrating how mindfulness-based interventions improve mental and physical health—comparably so to other psychological interventions.
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
See Pleasure vs Gratification (self vs outside of self)
WEIGHING UP YOUR LIFE
[How you feel about your life at any moment is a slippery matter, and an accurate appraisal of your life’s trajectory is important in making decisions about your future. Irrelevant momentary feelings of sadness or happiness can strongly cloud your judgment of the overall quality of your life. A recent rejection in love will drag overall satisfaction way down, and a recent raise in pay will artificially inflate it.
Here’s what I do. Shortly after New Year’s Day, I find a quiet half an hour to fill out the “January retrospective.” I choose a time that is remote from any momentary hassles or uplifts, and I do it on my computer, where I have saved a copy for comparison purposes every year for the last decade. On a scale of 1 to 10 (abysmal to perfect), I write my satisfaction with my life in each of the domains of great value to me, and I write a couple of sentences that sum up each. The domains I value, which may differ from yours, are as follows:
Love, Profession, Finances, Play, Friends, Health, Generativity, and Overall
I used one more category, “trajectory,” in which I scrutinize the year-to-year changes and their course across a decade.
I recommend this procedure to you. It pins you down, leaves little room for self-deception, and tells you when to act. To paraphrase Robertson Davies, “Weigh up your life once a year. If you find you are getting short weight, change your life. You will usually find the solution lies in your own hands.”
One interesting part of the exercise is deciding on which areas you want to use for the assessment. He has eight. You could choose any eight or ten areas that you like.]
Chapter 5 Authentic Happiness by Martin E. Seligman, Ph.D.