The blue dress- Check ! Matching nails – Check ! Hair curled and styled – Check ! Flowers- Check ! Camera – Check ! Raw excited Energy on a scale of 1 to 10 …. 20 !
Phew ! I kid you not ! The excitement in my house this past Saturday could have rivalled the launch of a space vehicle. The preparation, the energy, the anticipation all leading up to… ( drum rolls please) – the High School Prom!
My high school senior was going to the senior prom – an event symbolic in more ways than one…Not only as a rite of passage but literally a fresh start after completing 14 months of enforced hibernation due to the pandemic !
But despite this …anxious and stressed thoughts in her head were casting a dark gloom over the sunny skies of excitement. What if something goes wrong, what if my friends don’t come to pick me up on time, what if my nails fall off, did I really deserve this event as pandemic rages in the other part of the world, what if the school shuts down the whole event, what if…what if…
Her mind was everywhere except where it needed to be – in the present moment. And somehow this exciting event was turning into a stressful one !
And as I watched her step out of the house, her eyes met mine, her feet hesitated. I asked her if she was forgetting something….She turned around, sighed and said – “I am forgetting to have fun..to just savor the moment !”
How many times in our lives do we forget to savor the moments we love – such as finishing a hearty meal in seconds sometimes without realizing or even remembering what it tasted like. We all know that positive experiences make us happier. But did you know that you can multiply the happiness of a positive experience by savoring it – the act of stepping out of the experience to review and appreciate it.
You savor by slowing down, mindfully observing your thoughts, your emotions, your bodily sensations and using all the senses to experience this positive event. You also savor by not focusing on the future but by completely being with the experience, sharing it with others, talking about it and showing physical manifestations of happiness or excitement !
Cognitive Scientists such as the famous Yale Professor Laurie Santos have researched the habits of happy people, and the one of their habits is savoring their positive experiences !
And as for my daughter, as she stumbled upon this realization that evening, I saw her shoulders relax, her smile widen and eyes shining and I knew in her mind she carried the resolve to make the best out of this experience by completely being with it….by magnifying it…by savoring it!