Noticing and Savouring the Positive to Help You Get Through Winter
Most people in Ottawa seem to love summer and enjoy the natural beauty of fall, but there seems to be less enthusiasm for the next season of winter.
As the days get colder and shorter, we start the small talk of wondering how to get through dreaded winter. It can feel like life gets harder as we have more to contend with because of the weather and darker days.
As a human race, we have evolved to focus on the negative in order to problem-solve and survive, but when we can turn our attention to intentionally notice the good everything can seem more bearable. We can enhance the influence of the positive moments in our lives to build up our resilience for when the negative moments come because life contains both positive and negative moments.
Negative winter moments aren’t always so bad, maybe just more inconvenient, but an accumulation of them can really bring us down.
Noticing what didn’t go wrong
Take, for example, a winter moment like the unexpected blizzard that delays you in traffic and makes you late to meet your friends so that you lose your dinner reservation.
When something like this happens, how many of us will retell the story of how frustrating this was and end up reliving it each time we talk about it?
On the other hand, how many of us will retell or relive the experience of leaving work on time and having nothing keep us from getting where we need to go?
This may seem like a silly question because these kinds of moments don’t make very interesting stories to tell to others and that may be why we usually take them for granted. However, these moments are worth retelling ourselves because when we intentionally look for moments like this and then relive internally how nothing went wrong, it is a way to help us see life more positively.
In this example, recognising the ease with which you were able to leave work and drive to the restaurant to meet your friends will do you good, especially if you can savour the experience as well.
Savouring the positive
Savouring is an exercise where we focus our attention on fully experiencing through our senses.
It can be something we do in a mindful present moment when we notice the good or a way to bring to mind a positive moment from the past.
Savouring the positive starts with you bringing to mind the specifics of what you are experiencing or that you experienced through your senses.
If you are savouring a positive experience from the past you could ask yourself the following questions:
- What did I see that I enjoyed?
- What did I hear that was pleasant?
- What smells and tastes did I notice and like?
- How did my body feel in the moment?
As you answer each of these questions and notice or replay the scene in your mind’s eye in as much detail as you can, relish the experience and revel in it.
You can learn more about savouring at http://www.thepositivepsychologypeople.com/the-art-of-positive-savouring/.
Anytime and anywhere
Savouring is something you can do anytime including during annoying winter moments like scraping ice off your car, waiting for a bus, or trudging through the snow.
Reliving the positive moments will also help train your brain to notice the positive in the everyday.
Everyday positive moments such as a stranger’s smile, a favourite song on the radio, or a kind word in an email; and before you know it spring will come.
If you find that it is very hard for you to notice anything positive in your life or find that there is nothing you can think of that you have recently enjoyed, you may be suffering from depression. If this is you, please consider setting up a free meet and greet session with me to see if our working together could help.
Wishing you all a happy holiday season with many positive moments to notice and savour!
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This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.