Feeling Out-of-Sorts? Try Savoring
With the excitement from better news about the pandemic and the world beginning to upright itself, I still find myself feeling tired and out-of-balance. I have blamed it on my second vaccination, the pollen-filled air, and the loss of an hour due to daylight savings time. After I listened to the On Being interview with Krista Tippett and Clinical Psychologist and Mindfulness Teacher, Christine Runyan, I found some answers and relief.
We've spent an entire year on high alert with our brains working overtime trying to keep us safe. Humans are hard-wired to look out for danger, so our skills are well sharpened. We have to be more diligent in our efforts to look for the positive, to find wonder, humor, and to experience gratitude. As I wrote in this week's newsletter, our well-being and resilience are connected to our ability to focus on positive experiences.
Specifically, I spoke about a form of gratitude, SAVORING. This act of gratitude requires us to pause and drop into a sense of wonder. This week I've made a point of taking time to savor something in nature at least once per day. Yesterday it was the iris in the picture below. The scent of this flower reminds me of my childhood Kool-aid stands because where I grew up, irises bloomed in June when school was out and the weather was warm enough to sell Kool-aid.
Today the cute face of a one purple pansy stood out among the many in a big pot on my back deck. These flowers, like us, are survivors, they have withstood the whole winter and are now standing tall and waving in the Spring breezes.
If you are feeling worn down, take time to savor something each day for the next week. Incline your mind to look for something that will calm your nervous system, release oxytocin and decrease your stress. When your habit to look for wonder grows, the well-worn habit of looking for danger reduces to a more manageable level.
"We do have to create those conditions"; Runyan says. "If we can really notice, most things that are even neutral become pleasant, because they become fascinating." After three days of savoring, I'm starting to anticipate what I will savor tomorrow. It feels good to look forward to something positive. My attitude is getting better and my fatigue is lessening. It will take some time.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “It's not the destination, It's the journey.”