When it comes to drawing maximum joy from the good events of our lives our perceptions of how we should experience joy and our beliefs of how much joy we deserve will either block or ignite our savoring abilities. There are also times when doing what we think we should do robs us of the joy we truly deserve. Today I want to share with you four of the most prevalent Savoring Blockers and provide you their antidotes, so you can increase your awareness of how these are playing out in your life and perhaps take some simple actions to refocus your life on more joy.
For each SAVORING BLOCKER below I follow it up with the SAVORING IGNITER, consider the igniter the antidote to the blocker. For example, the Savoring Igniter SIMPLIFY is the antidote to the Savoring Blocker of EXCESS.
Savoring Blocking #1: Excess. We only have so much time and attention. When our lives fill with too many time commitments like excess work, too any volunteer activities or even time wasters we find we move from one event to the next with such velocity we do not have time to acknowledge or bask in the good things we just achieved. The same happens when too many things fill our lives. Things take our attention and time, we want a large house with a large yard, but find we either need to spend time in the yard or hire others to work in the yard. We want the largest clearest TV we can afford, well then we need to watch it, protect it and probably share it with others. All is good, but the excess we create prevents us from savoring the good.
Savoring Igniter #1: Simplify. Stop keeping up with the Jone’s, this is your life, claim it and live it to its fullest. If your job has taken over your life and prevents you from having dinner with your family start with a small change that will help you progress to a new boundary. Choose 1 night a week to have a family dinner, even if it is Sunday afternoon. To increase the anticipation, plan a menu or RSVP at a restaurant that everyone likes. To increase the pleasure in the moment set a no phone rule during dinner so everyone is engaged and participating in conversation. To prolong the memory take a family photo and post it to a Facebook. This is just one example to show how a small change that aligns to your values can have a big impact on the joy you experience.
Savoring Blocker #2: Stress. Worrying about the future or staring down a massive To-Do List can be stressful. A few years ago I realized I was addicted to stress, the adrenalin it caused really was my drug of choice. Once I came to the realization that I was the cause of my own stress filled life, and promoting stress in others, I started to make large and small changes that allowed me to live more intentionally. Even now when I feel stress I know it is because I am allowing the day to run me instead of me running the day.
Savoring Igniter #2: Live In the Moment. The only thing we can truly affect is now. Worrying about something is not going to change it. Doing something now that impacts our future may change it and should calm our nerves. Worry is not a viable action; it is a form of procrastination. Action today is an investment in your future. If you feel worried about a situation take one action to move it forward or resolve it now and know that the universe will send you the next inspired action when the time is right. Most likely if you are worried about a situation, it is because you are not taking the inspired action the universe has already delivered you.
Savoring Blocker #3: Wasting Time. There is no joy in mindless TV. Now I have my favorite TV shows just like the next person, but I typically watch those on-demand so I can watch only that and not get sucked into the “best of” whatever is on. We all have our time wasters or ways to unwind from a busy day or intense situation, some of that is ok, but it is important to look at those with a discerning eye. Are they ways to relax when you need it or are they wasting your time and steeling your joy?
Savoring Igniter #3: Flow. There is a state of mind and productivity referred to as flow. You have experienced it. It is that very rewarding time you spend completely absorbed in a project, activity or conversation. You are so absorbed in it you lose track of time, you are thoroughly engaged and excited or at peace, and, perhaps most rewarding, the best of you is surfacing. When you are in a state of flow there is no such thing as wasted time.
Savoring Blocker #4: Dampening. Dampening is a strategy used by those with a low self-esteem. There was a time in my own life where I used this more than enough. When dampening we neither like or value ourselves so we see unhappiness as a state consistent with who we believe ourselves to be. Instead of using any of the many strategies to savor life and increase our joy those who dampen deliberately mute or distract themselves from positive feelings.
Savoring Igniter #4: Savoring. Savoring is the anti-dote to dampening. If you find yourself frequently or occasionally in the dampening state, this series will change your life if you apply some of the savoring strategies I share with you. Learning to savor life will show your value and help you acknowledge the good happening in your world. It will also help you see the good that is a result of YOU being engaged and mindful of the positive realities taking place around and through you every single day.
Today’s Simple Smile Igniter is to combine any discoveries of today with yesterday’s Idea Generator Exercise to come up with a simple new habit that will help you savor life a bit more every day. On Saturday we will start creating a new habit that supports us as we use savoring strategies to bring more smiles into our lives.