Savor the Present when Practicing Mindfulness - dummies

Savor the Present when Practicing Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

If like many people you find yourself constantly planning for a future but never really enjoying the present moment, perhaps you can try the practice of savoring the now. This practice is essentially mindful, but with a slight twist — the idea is to tune into the pleasantness of an experience in the moment.

Savoring present-moment experiences is one of the core hallmarks of leading a life of wellbeing, and so it’s worth having a go.

The following quote can be a real wake-up call for some:

First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. Then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work. Then I was dying to see them marry and have children. Then I was dying to retire. And now I’m dying, and suddenly I realised, I forgot to live. Please don’t let this happen to you. Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day. — Author Unknown

Enjoy ordinary, everyday experiences

Life contains many pleasures and overlooking them or moving quickly on to something else is all too easy. Try slowing down and savoring pleasurable experiences. Instead of gulping down that cafe latte while trying to read a newspaper, really taste the flavor, enjoy the warmth of the cup and connect with the aroma.

When going for a walk, literally take time to stop and smell the roses. Taking time and some effort to connect and luxuriate in your senses can make ordinary experiences more enjoyable.

Savor the moment with others

Enjoying the here and now with friends or family can heighten the feeling of pleasure. Going on a walk and looking at a lake, a flower or a stunning view together. Or you can just be at home and be in the moment as you cook together.

Many people talk about a different but positive feeling when they meditate with others, which seems strange, because for many people meditation is a very personal experience.

Practice mindfulness meditation in the now

When you meditate regularly, you develop a brain that’s more connected with the present moment. With mindfulness meditation practice every day, you’re more likely to be able to focus your attention in the present moment and savor pleasurable experiences, instead of being overly high jacked by your thoughts.

Complete the following worksheet with some activities that you can really savor and note your reflections in the right-hand column.

Activity You Want to Savor Today Observations (Consider the Thoughts, Feelings and Bodily
Sensations You Experienced)
Your walk to the train station from home. If you enjoyed listening to the birds as you walked. . . you
might write, “I thought, ‘That’s lovely,’ and
felt joy and a relaxing feeling and warmth in my chest. My
shoulders dropped a bit too.”