Communication worth savoring

Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.

Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure” Maggie Pitts

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable as this moment:
  • a conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach living and their choices;
  • a talk with a friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after, as they explored a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia;
  • talks with friends of shared books and movies;
  • a presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of my life,
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband almost daily.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.
As I was writing this post in the early morning hours, I took a moment to savor the water color view through the screen on my balcony on a softly unfolding morning in tropical Florida.
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Simple ways to make Valentine’s Day special

heart-762564_960_7201Would you like your sweetest Valentine’s Day ever? 

Here are 14 loved-based Wishful Thinking Works tips to make this year’s Valentine’s Day your best yet. 

Mix and match them to your heart’s desire. 

 Using even one tip can up your happiness or that of someone special to you.

  1. Plan ahead – having something to look forward will raise your spirits. If you do not want to be alone, reach out and plan something fun for friends or family. If you are looking forward to a quiet night by yourself, go for it – in style – by treating yourself to foods and activities you love. Add, candles and fancy dishes, and voilà, c’est magnifique!
  2. Broaden your scope – you can celebrate being in love with anyone on Valentine’s Day. Friends, family, your kids, your life, your job – whatever makes you smile is worth celebrating!
  3. Expand your options  – restaurants can be overbooked and way too busy on the 14th, why not go out earlier in the month, and exchange cards or gifts on Valentine’s? (We have already booked dinner at a new beachside restaurant for the 8th. The anticipation is just as fun, the sunset view will be as stunning and the food may even be better since the restaurant will not be overflowing.)
  4. Be creative – good times don’t require big budgets – think indoor picnic or cheese and crackers with wine before dinner at home to make it special.  If you can get outdoors – plan a picnic, a late night walk or a weekend hike.  Anything that moves you out of your comfort zone will be memorable.
  5. Relax – even the most romantic evening can be ruined by letting your expectations outweigh the circumstances. Breathe!
  6. Put the focus on others – this is a great time of year for Gratitude Letters, cards or notes to special aunts and uncles, neighbors, or co-workers – anyone who has done something caring and kind for you – ever! Buy a heart shape cookie and drop it by the neighbors or leave it on the desk of a co-worker.
  7. Memories make great gifts – find ways to bring great moments alive again through Facebook posts, photos, calls or visits. Remind loved ones of memories you share.
  8. Volunteerstudies show this can brighten everyone’s day, and may even lengthen your life. Make plans now to spend time helping others.
  9. Babysit – If you don’t have big plans – help make someone else’s night great!
  10. Pay-it-forward – Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Let folks go ahead of you at the grocery store. Hold the door, give-up the parking space. (Remember, to keep it pure and simple no fair waiting or expecting a thank you!)
  11. Give an unexpected hug – it is good for everyone’s health! Hold it for 20 seconds to feel all of the warmth and richness.
  12. Ask for a do-over or apologize – now is the perfect time to undo something you said or did that you wish you hadn’t. Here’s how!
  13. Forgiveyourself or someone else! Take time to rethink and reframe a situation and then gently let it go.
  14. Give instead of receiving – donate to your favorite charity. One of the best Valentine’s gifts I ever received was a donation made in my name to fund a young girl’s school for a year – the cost was only $58, the memory and the feeling are priceless!

Making the simple, special this Valentine’s Day will make you and others happier!  

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