Savoring: Your strategy to total fitness

Savoring is a total force fitness strategy you can use to create, maintain, and enhance positive emotions, which can help boost your well-being and performance. It’s intentionally paying attention to past, present, and future experiences, and purposefully trying to appreciate them. When you savor an experience, you hone in on the positive moments and replay them in your mind. The focus is on prolonging or even intensifying the good emotions you attach to a particular situation.

Savoring can increase your happiness. It might even help you gain a new perspective or insight as well.

Savor successes

You likely spend a lot of time focusing on areas of your life that need improvement. Failures, disappointments, and struggles are great sources of learning. However, keep in mind that there’s much to be learned from success. Allow yourself to celebrate your wins, reflect on what went well, and remember how to sustain those victories. Savoring successes helps to ensure winning streaks, reinforce behaviors and strategies for optimal performance, and keep you feeling confident and competent.

Warfighters who savor positive emotions might experience more success and improved performance by helping to regulate the physiological effects of negative emotion, increasing creative thinking, and building reserves into their “resilience banks.” Savoring positive emotion by engaging in a simple behavior such as laughing can boost your mental and physical health.

Savor relationships

Savoring can intensify positive feelings towards your partner and help increase or maintain relationship satisfaction. Recall a positive memory—when you felt loved, accepted, protected, and cherished by your partner—and focus on those details to savor your relationship. Stimulating such feelings can help you feel more secure and closer to your loved one. Relationship savoring also can temporarily reduce anger or frustration that you might feel towards your partner. It’s most effective for those who want to maintain happiness in their relationships.

Savor exercise

Savor the confidence you feel when you’re physically active. Think about, in as many details as possible, your experiences with exercise that felt satisfying and beneficial. Regular exercise can boost your mood and psychological well-being, reduce depression, and relieve anxiety. Exercise also can help wounded warriors during recovery, and potentially decrease their risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Besides your gym workout, savor other forms of exercise too. For example, go for a walk outside and reconnect with nature. Pay attention to what’s around you and focus on those positive emotions.

Savor healthy eating

You can focus on the positive emotions you experience when you eat healthy too. Give careful thought to what went into making those choices. Appreciate that you took steps to healthfully fuel yourself as well. If you have children, you might recall introducing them to vegetables or planning family meals.

Try to slow down and enjoy the taste of your food at mealtime. If you’re sharing a meal with others, savor your time together too.

Debrief

The human brain has an adaptive, hardwired tendency called “negativity bias,” which causes it to prioritize negative information. This tendency can create missed opportunities for experiencing positive emotions, which can help decrease depression and support resilience.

Take time to savor your experiences: those positive emotions tied to your successes, physical activity, healthy eating, and relationships. Try to maintain your joy and pride to reduce negativity and improve your well-being too.