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Well-Being: Self Exploration Pt. 1

Santos discusses how gratitude can enhance and expand well-being by taking time to savor and think about (realize) why you are thankful.

Over the past couple of months, I have posted on social media and written a blog mentioning Laurie Santos Science of Well-Being course.  I have completed the first two weeks of the 10-week course. I plan to share my experiences as I move through the course. The first part of the course provides opportunities to examine and probe personal viewpoints on happiness and habits.  The second part of the course provides opportunities to apply knowledge gained.  

As someone who is data driven week one of the course provided insight in current level of happiness and strengths identification. Week two began the process of delving deeper into the meaning of the week one results. The question “How Do You Know” has not only been a part of my professional life but also key to my personal development.  Certainly, numerical data (such as finding your current score of happiness) is an important snapshot of life however I am drawn to the ways to measure abstract concepts and apply to self.  You can see a description of “How Do You Know” in my website resources.

While my specific outcomes are not the focus of this post from a broad scope, I found the results to confirm my perspectives of self AND provided insights on areas to pursue with more effort.

“Savoring and Gratitude” is the reading for week two.  Does gratitude alone lead to complacency without further insight into the deeper appreciation of life experiences?  After reading the course materials, watching the course videos, and taking part in the discussions forums I found that I am a grateful person BUT do I really savor the moments of life.  Santos discusses how gratitude can enhance and expand well-being by taking time to savor and think about (realize) why you are thankful. Savoring is finding the beauty of the moment and being grateful. Savoring is the “simple act of stepping out of your experience, to review it, and really appreciate it while it’s happening”.  

A few days ago, after a thunderstorm, while it was still raining (no threat of severe weather), I went for a run. Due to the “stay at home” policy there were hardly any cars and I only saw one other person walking a dog.  While the stay at home policy for the past several weeks has been a bit challenging, I am trying to keep my glass half full and savor the moments of each day.  Sure, I want life to get back to normal, but I did savor the peacefulness of a light rain and the solitude of my run. 

I have always been grateful for my runs (good, bad, or indifferent). I have learned through this experience is to be more aware of the meaning my day-to-day activities. This awareness will have an influence on uplifting my well-being.  

Chowdhury (n.d.) depicts the relationship 
between gratitude and well-being.

Bryant and Veroff (2006) Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience provides a conceptual definition of savoring “people have the capacities to attend to, appreciate, and enhance the positive experiences in their lives” (p. 2).  Below I share a summary of their savoring strategies outlined by Kennelly (2012).

Be ready to experience every moment, 
don’t let any of it pass you by 
because you can only truly live the life 
you have embraced.   

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While my running example above is just one aspect of my life, I am grateful for every time I run.  After week 2 of The Science of Well-Being I have learned to look at the details, sensations, positives, and enjoyment of my day-to-day activities. I hope to express my joy and happiness more often…life is meant to be savored.

Gratitude + Savoring = Joy/Happiness

Savor every moment slowly.
As these will be your 
long lasting memories 
forever.

-Sassa

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