Are you taking it all in?

I love walking beaches. If you walk for long enough on any beach you eventually find yourself totally on your own. Sometimes I take the opportunity if the tide allows, to find a quiet corner and lie flat on my back. I close my eyes and listen attentively to the world around me. Distant cars. Grasses swaying. The high- pitched cries of children from the car park. A warm breeze fans my face and blows sand up onto my neck. Seagulls glide above and I hear waves batter the stones. In moments like this, I come to realise that I am here. Sometimes we are so busy we forget that we are HERE.

I savour these moments, knowing they are precious. We are so often oblivious to the beauty around us. We should never stop seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting its majesty. I think that when we connect to the world around us, we actually start connecting with ourselves. It’s a spiritual connection. And it’s therapeutic.  We often do not see or hear the music of the wonderful world that we inhabit.

Savouring means the capacity to attend to the joys, pleasures, and other positive feelings that we experience in our lives. It is when we relish and focus on something enjoyable or satisfying. It is commonly experienced in relation to food, but positive psychology research studies reveal that there are benefits in learning to savour more than a good meal or drink. It is not about grasping for pleasure or reaching out for the next better thing to come our way. It’s more about becoming more conscious of our world.

We sometimes fail to notice everyday pleasures. I have encountered people who live beside the seaside and fail to take in its splendour. But I have also spoken to people who set out in a deliberate way to bask in the glory of it all. Through their daily walk they savour every moment.

By working harder at learning to savour, we can cheer ourselves up when we’re feeling blue. Studies show that savouring positive events is correlated with a greater sense of well-being, greater happiness, and even better health. Some of the best therapy is free.

(C) Shane Martin