Savoring is an art, if not a competitive sport. However, it can be found in the most unlikely places . . .
If I were to ask you to think of a diehard football fan, my face is likely the last that would pop into your mind. While it’s very true that I know almost nothing about football and have only a passing interest in watching a game (football or most any other sport), I am very interested in watching the reaction of sports fans before, during, and after a game.
Take this past Superbowl for example. That weekend I was visiting my aunt Nancy while in Miami to attend my positive psychology certification class. Aunt Nancy (also not what you’d describe as an avid fan) was excited to throw a Superbowl party and to root for the team she knew her son (who is a die-hard fan) would be rooting for. During the day on Superbowl Sunday I attended my certification class––and I was struck by the energy that was buzzing off the football fans in the room. Their excitement was palpable and infections! I talked with some that were anticipating the game, and I could tell they were imagining their team playing full out and taking the win!
After my class, I attended my aunt’s party, arriving just before half time when the Patriots were behind in scoring against the Falcons. When I walked into the room I could feel the tension––Patriot fans holding their breath, fearing defeat, yet still keeping the faith that a win was inevitable. After a reasonable amount of time, I left the party with the assumption that the Falcons had the game wrapped up.
Later that evening my aunt returned home from the party and she was absolutely beaming with excitement! She recounted the events of the game––describing each touchdown, going into overtime, and the amazing victory that the Patriots ultimately claimed. She was so excited I wondered if she would be able to get to sleep that night.
The next morning, she and my uncle both described the game to me again. They were completely reliving and savoring the excitement and joy they experienced as they celebrated with their friends and family at the party the night before.
It occurred to me that there’s a lesson to be learned from the behaviors sports fans exhibit when it comes to their favorite teams and players . . .
1) It is entirely possible to extract excitement and pleasure from merely thinking about something you’ve enjoyed in the past.
2) It is possible to be disappointed in the moment and yet still committed to seeing a successful outcome (now or sometime in the future) when you really believe it is possible.
3) We can absolutely shift our mindset when we think about something that has previously brought us joy, excitement, passion, peace, fun, or some other positive emotion in the past.
So the next time you’re feeling stuck or simply frustrated or disappointed, remember that you can anticipate and savor past, present, and future events to immediately shift your current feelings to a more positive state.
Just a little Bit of Bliss from me to you.