In the process of moving home, I’ve come across all sorts of things that I had not looked at in a while. Two particular treasures were folders of cards from dear friends, and from former clients. Sitting looking through them gave me the opportunity to really savour the relationships, and memories they captured.
After the warm glow dissipated, this got me thinking about the power of where we place attention. It was not news to me that I have very dear friends who are hugely supportive, nor was it new to know that I have had many appreciative clients over the years. And yet, none of that was front of mind, what’s more, it was not something I had reminded myself of for a while.
It’s easy to become preoccupied with the detail of what is happening day to day, and not to put your head up and see the wider picture. It’s also natural for attention to be drawn to issues and challenges, we are wired to have a negativity bias and notice threat and potential danger.
There are many studies that show the benefits of gratitude and savouring. Even knowing the theory it’s so nice to get that very real hit of dopamine and oxytocin that made me feel good, the ‘warm glow’ of savouring and appreciation.
Savouring is a simple thing to do, but it's not always easy. Building it into your routine by tying it to another activity e.g. family tea-time, last thing before bed, when you get up, can help you to build the muscle and make it more familiar. Why not start off with savouring 5 things that you really appreciate today? Having this as a daily practice where you focus on the specific things you appreciate on that day can help reset your unconscious filters and increase your wellbeing.
If low mood, anxiety or a negativity bias are getting in your way day to day, get in touch to explore whether psychotherapy may be useful for you.