How to use your Flourish Journal to savour each moment

How to use your Flourish Journal to savour each moment

The moments we have in this lifetime are limited – once they are gone, we cannot get them back. Each moment has the opportunity to shine with rich texture, colour and emotion. Each moment carries the promise of happiness, whether that arrives as feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, awe or serenity. But our moments, more often than not, are impoverished because we move through life so quickly that we barely pay attention to what is happening around us.

The way we choose to experience the events in our life determines how much pleasure we get from them. We can gain more pleasure by increasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of positive emotions through the process of savouring. To do this we must be mindfully aware, and deliberately pay attention to, what is happening in the moment and how we are feeling, with the intention of engaging thoughts and behaviours that heighten positive emotions. We might focus on the serenity we feel while sipping a cup of tea and looking out to the garden or we might focus on the interest we experience when visiting an art gallery, deliberately seeking out paintings with complexity, depth, and hidden layers.

Savouring not only increases our positivity but also increases gratitude and meaning. Stephen Schueller, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found that people who took a few minutes each day to actively savour an experience, such as eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, or walking to the bus, began experiencing more joy, happiness, and other positive emotions, and had fewer symptoms of depression.

We can savour our experiences through:

  • Anticipation, where we generate positive emotions before an event by looking forward to it.
  • Present enjoyment, where we use our thoughts and behaviours to intensify or prolong positive feelings during an event.
  • Reminiscence, where we rekindle positive feelings by looking back on an event.

There are also four different types of savouring that we can use to increase positivity:

  • Basking: revelling in, or making the most of, praise and congratulations.
  • Thanksgiving: experiencing or expressing gratitude.
  • Marvelling: being filled with wonder, astonishment, or awe.
  • Luxuriating: delighting in the experience of the senses.

Practice savouring in your Flourish Journal

Your Flourish Journal can be a place where you practice savouring by recording big and small events. You can do this in three simple steps.

  1. Actively build memories during an event by jotting down a few notes, taking photographs, drawing, or simply concentrating on vividly remembering the event. Dismiss all preconceptions and replace them with wonder. Discover something new by concentrating on the details. If it is appropriate, try drawing the event (even if you can’t draw well) as this helps you to see details, produces more vivid memories, and connects you will all your senses.
  2. Actively build memories after the event. Once you get home, create a page in your Flourish Journal about the event – write, draw, collage, use colour, record your emotions, and use all your senses to capture the essence of the event.
  3. Use your Flourish Journal page as a touchstone that helps you to reflect upon and remember the event in the future. You can use this to generate positive emotions when you need a boost of happiness or as a reminder of the good things in life. Or you can use it to build anticipation for a similar event in the future.

If you would like to learn more about increasing your levels of happiness by creating and using your Flourish Journal, we would love you to join our online course: Flourish: Experiments in Happiness.

You might also like the blog post: Using your Flourish Journal to record ordinary experiences can bring unexpected joy.

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