This morning as I was driving my daughter to school my eyes darted to a house on the right side of the road just as we were approaching the parking lot. I suddenly noticed that there was a really large dog lifting his leg and peeing on a tree in the yard. My eyes went back to the road assuming I was the only one who had seen it, but then I quickly looked through my rear view mirror at my daughter and could tell she had also caught the scene. I asked, “Did you see that dog?” She burst out laughing and said “YEAH! It was peeing on the tree!” Then we both started giggling, really loudly.
I can’t explain why it was so funny, but it was. We laughed and laughed, and with each laugh I could literally feel the positivity pulsing through me. All the stress from the morning routine was gone, and all the anticipation of a busy day at work was gone. There was no discussion of how animals urinate, of how we don’t use potty words, or of anything else. It wasn’t a teachable moment; it was just a moment to enjoy. It was me and my precious girl, laughing our heads off about a dog peeing.
As I drove into work after dropping her off I found myself chuckling thinking about the moment. I told a colleague with kids about the story and we laughed together. And as I am writing about it right now, I’m smiling. I’m reminiscing, which is making me feel good. Social psychologist Fred Bryant calls this savoring, and his research suggests that savoring can help us maximize the positive effects of good experiences in our lives. He says savoring is like “swishing the experience around in your mind,” much like you’d do with a sip of wine in your mouth. By deliberately reliving the positive moment, or talking about it with others, you are bringing the memories back into awareness, along with the happy feelings associated with them.
The next time you find yourself laughing out loud with your kids or partner, or smiling with the happiness of a shared joy, take a mental picture of that moment. Later, when you need a burst of positivity, go back to that moment and swish it around in your head a bit. Enjoy!