In the age of the 30-second attention span and the clamour for instant (often virtual) gratification to allow time enough to be fully aware of a particular pleasure by deliberately focusing attention on it requires effort. It necessitates carving space enough to relish that moment thoroughly and mindfully. And, then allow time to re-visit and remember that pleasure too.

Four suggestion that help me to better savouring the moment:

  1. Can Do List:

    I often need to recognise the need to listen carefully to what my  body’s telling me and not (in thinking I’m some kind of Superman) ignore the warnings it’s giving me. After all, we all know when we’re causing ourselves harm and also pretty much know what to do that’ll be healing and helpful.

    If I’m overloaded, stressed and anxious I struggle to think straight and often ignore the voice inside.That’s where a ‘Can Do’ List comes in handy.

    It’s simply a list of positive actions I know help relax me. They’re instant actions that calm me down and put me back in touch with myself and the good things in the world around me.

    I’m putting together a list of things that help me heal myself. The only constraint in adding to the list is that it has to be possible now, ie. that is it must be accessible and realistic, so no foreign trips or expensive purchases…Here’s a few of the ideas I’ve come up with so far:

    • Open the window
    • Take a lingering look at the sky…
    • Walk and take time to look around…
    • Tend a plant…
    • Pick up a pencil and draw…
    • Read a chapter…
    • Enjoy thinking about the ‘tower’ of new books waiting in the wings…
    • Have a poem on the go…
    • Tidy my (psychological or actual) desk…
    • Go to a quiet place and close my eyes…
    • Get a coffee…
    • Savour trees in all Seasons…
    • Learn more about native flowers…
    • Look at maps…
    • Take any walk by water…
    • Write up a Journal…
    • Drink a glass of (very) cold milk…
    • Turn on the radio…
    • Stop…
    • Grab a stick and play… (Our Joe’s approach to life)

2.     Being present:

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Our minds aren’t simply linear processors, they naturally wander and bear little resemblance to a single line going for a walk.

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Rather our minds are lazy, crowded and chaotic. They’re multi-stranded, with each strand fraying at the end into countless other threads.

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 When we’re busy the threads snarl up and knot together;

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and we fail to see the woods for the trees and struggle to see the big picture for the surrounding mass of details.

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Distraction is a challenge of savouring. Instead of enjoying what’s happening now, our minds wander off. Unfortunately we quite often wander off to our worries. This dampens down the positive emotions we feel; so savouring is about gently closing off the noise of the world and focusing on a pleasure

3.     Freeze Frame

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I find acknowledging the positive when it happens surprising difficult. If something good or enjoyable happens I too easily accept the fact with a shrug and move on. I pass over it. I focus on went wrong and ignore the fact that many positives happen too.

It’s one of the reasons why I take masses of photographs. Photography for me is an antidote to that damp squib mindset. Photographs freeze frame moments to be savoured later.

A photograph has the ability to capture a totally other story.

4.    Time travel (or a little delayed gratification can go a long, long way…)

Alessis-Ark-Time-Travel

I’ve often thought that one of the secrets of improving the quality of life is to try and always have something to look forward to – or something positive to look back on.

Increasingly I’m realising that no matter how small that ‘something’ is, the positive effect’s the same.

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