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ATD Blog

Is Savoring the Key to Happiness at Work?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

You’ve likely heard this maxim at some point: “Enjoy life’s simple pleasures!” It can seem a bit trite, but research finds that actively savoring the good things that happen in our lives—no matter how small—can indeed drive more happiness, both in the moment and long-term.

What is savoring?

Savoring is more than pleasure. It means having positive feelings while simultaneously focusing awareness on them. Savoring entails deliberately focusing one’s full attention on the present and bringing the whole experience of pleasure into one’s awareness as it is happening, with as many of the senses as possible. Because our minds have an extraordinary ability to remember sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings, savoring pleasurable experiences locks away the positive feelings so that we can recall them to evoke positive emotions at a later time.

The next time you feel a big emotion—maybe a wave of pride or even a flash of anger—slow down. Taking notice of your reactions can help you shift your perspective and find things to appreciate in every kind of moment, even ones that don’t seem outwardly joyous.


Putting It in Practice

Try this savoring practice to build up a habit of noticing the small moments you might otherwise skip over.


Spend five minutes writing about a happy, joyful, or pleasant event that happened earlier this week at work. For example, you could write about a good conversation you had with a co-worker.

  • Write about the people, sounds, physical sensations, and sights that you experienced at the time of the event.
  • Focus on the positive emotions that you felt during and right after this event.
  • Focus on how this event occurred and how you created this situation for yourself.
  • Write about anything else that makes you feel good about this event.

Small moments matter. Collect them. Cherish them. Honor them. And, most importantly, share them.

About the Author

Devin C. Hughes is an author, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and an internationally recognized expert in the science of happiness, organizational/culture change and leadership development. He has lectured and worked with a variety of Fortune 100 companies, as well as the Secret Service, the IRS, and an assortment of profit and nonprofit organizations. Devin is the author of 20 books and has lectured in more than 15 countries. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, four daughters, and two rescue dogs.

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