How to Remain Joyful in Difficult Times: Savouring the Good Moments

Remain Joyful in Difficult Times
If you’re about to stick your head in the sand, hold on until you finished reading this article. The corona virus has sent our world into a spin, introduced new hardship and personal crisis and amplifies what was already tough. How can you not get depressed when watching the news and following social media? It’s understandable we’re overwhelmed and feel a little hopeless at times.
But don’t give up just yet.
There are a few things you can do to support your mental health and stop that slippery slope into depression. Being a scientist, I reverted to the science of positive psychology for support. A study published in 2016 investigated the strategy of savouring and summarised:
Taken together, results provide preliminary support for savouring as a protective factor for depressive symptoms.
Of course something bad happening or life getting tough doesn’t mean that we’re all getting depressed. Looks like about half of us tolerate or even successfully navigate difficult times without our mood taking a hit. There are many different strategies people use to come out the other side ok. One of them is savouring.


Put simply, savouring means capitalising on the good things. It’s all your efforts and tactics to “develop, intensify and sustain positive emotions”. You can do this with both your head and your heart: expressing gratitude, being proud of yourself, admire and being in awe of wonderful things or simply just savouring the moment with all your senses. Think of this also over time: 
  • Joyfully looking forward: Does it bring you joy to look forward or do you consider this a waste of time and have a hard time getting excited?
  • Maximising the pleasurable moment: Do you know how you can make the best out of an experience while you’re in it? Can you completely immerse yourself in the good moments or do you find it difficult to stick with positive feelings?
  • Remembering and reliving the good times: Do you find joy in remembering happy times? Do you feel disappointed that they’re gone or does it come easy to you to relive these moments in your memories?

Finding Joy in Difficult Times: What to Do – and What Not.

It’s not about the intensity, but the frequency of your positive emotions. That’s why you should learn to look for what’s good in your life. What brings you joy, makes you feel grateful or interested, what leaves you in awe and when do you feel love? These little moments are already there – or you can create them for yourself. 
Then, pay attention to maintain or even increase this positive emotional experience, instead of dampening it immediately. Here are a few strategies you can use to maximise the experience – and others you should stay away from:
Do Don’t
Show you’re happy: smile, laugh, fully express the positive emotion you’re experiencing
Suppress your positive emotions: don’t let your shyness, sense of modesty or fear hold you back
Be present: intentionally direct your attention to what you’re experiencing in this moment
Distract yourself: don’t let worries or chores take the fun out what’s going on right now, stay in the moment
Share it with others: tell others about your positive experience and celebrate it together
Look for what’s wrong: we can always find something negative in anything or think the situation could be even better… don’t do this, appreciate what is
Daydream about it: use mental time travel to remember what made you happy in the past or anticipate the good things to come
Negative mental time travel: don’t talk past positive experiences down in your head or try to “manage your expectations” about what’s to come
savouring von Nicole Tschierske


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