Many of those good things lie just outside our doorstep, and we can practice noticing them by taking a Savouring Walk. You take a 20-minute walk where you are deliberately mindful, observing the sights, sounds, and smells you encounter—freshly cut grass, a beautiful building, a stranger’s smile. Each time you notice something positive, take the time to absorb it and feel it in your body and enjoy it. This savouring involves coming back to the present, coming back to our senses – one of the two essential components of mindfulness. The other component, of course, is open hearted curiosity or non judgmental awareness.
(note, you can listen to our Mindful Walking soundtrack under our Multimedia resources section)
On your subsequent Savouring Walks, strike out in different directions to seek new things to admire. Novelty keeps us engaged so we are less likely to start zoning out and walking on autopilot thinking about other things like work or something in the house that needs fixing.
In a study by Fred Bryant of Loyola University Chicago, participants who took Savouring Walks daily for a week reported greater increases in happiness than participants who went for walks as usual. “Making a conscious effort to notice and explicitly acknowledge the various sources of joy around us can make us happier,” write Bryant and Joseph Veroff in the book Savoring.