Want to Add of Spark of Joy to Your Day? Try Savoring the Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Summer

Photo by samantha gades on unsplash

Photo by samantha gades on unsplash

The other day I took a little stroll down my driveway to drop a letter in the mailbox.

As I walked, warm air pillowed me like a cocoon, and soft rays of sunshine caressed my skin. Bird song echoed through the woods, and a gentle wind rustled the treetops. My senses were further delighted by fragrant forest smells: warm earth, tangy sap and the sweet perfume of chokecherry blossoms.

As I took the time to savor the sights, sounds, and smells of this perfect summer day, I felt like I was being bathed in beauty. I could just feel my soul being refreshed and rejuvenated.

Moments like these can take a day from mundane to magical, and I’ve learned that if we really want to enjoy everyday life, learning to savor this kind of commonplace goodness is essential.

What is savoring?

Savoring is paying particular attention to something enjoyable. It involves actively tuning in to your senses and engaging with a pleasurable experience.

Savoring researcher Fred Bryant has been quoted as saying “it is like swishing the experience around…in your mind.” 

Savoring is about noticing the beautiful, delicious, and soul-stirring sensations around us, and then taking the time to slow down and let them soak in.

It’s a simple habit, but one we often find hard to make time for. There is so much to do, and we may feel we can’t spare the few extra minutes it takes to savor. Though it can take a bit of time (but really, it doesn’t take much), I think the benefits of savoring far outweigh its costs. It’s simple, free, and immensely enjoyable, and it has the ability to make a huge impact on our overall quality of life.

And that’s not only my opinion, but a fact supported by scientific research. Evidence indicates that savoring is linked to higher life satisfaction, a greater sense of joy and happiness, and can even boost the immune system and improve mental health. What's not to love about it?

Savoring when your day is not-so-perfect

Of course, it’s easy to savor a perfect day. But what about when conditions are less than ideal?

Though it may feel challenging, savoring is even more important during difficult circumstances because the boost of encouragement, joy and stress relief it gives can actually play a big role in helping us get through hard times.  

Just a few hours after my blissful morning walk, I had the opportunity to savor in less than perfect conditions. It happened as I was heading down my driveway for the second time that day, but this time the atmosphere was decidedly different.

Storm clouds had blown in and were unleashing rain and pebble sized hail stones. The warm, languorous morning air was now cool and biting, the gentle rustling of leaves had been replaced with raucous drumming, and spiky precipitation pricked my skin.

Most people would not consider this a positive turn of events. Yet there were still things to appreciate: the sharp and invigorating smell of rain, the glistening of moisture on slick leaves, and the tempo of wind gusts and rain patter...

While the morning had been the epitome of the perfect lazy summer day, the afternoon was refreshingly energetic and suffused with the power of wind and water. Instead of feeling disappointed by the turn of weather, as I honed in on the beauty, I felt just as rejuvenated and exhilarated as I had in the morning (albeit in a different way).

Keep it simple

If you haven’t already made a practice of savoring in your everyday life, summer is the perfect time to get started. Myriad sights, sounds, and smells are just begging to be savored: the ripple of light embossing the surface of a river, the evening sonnet of a thrush, the aroma of lilac blossoms, the pungent odor of fresh cut grass….

And remember, savoring doesn’t have to be complicated. Like my walks down my driveway, I think savoring is at its best when we make the most of the simple, everyday moments. All it takes is paying attention, slowing down, and “swishing” the experience around. It’s all about soaking in and engaging the beauty around us. It doesn’t take much time, and it gives wonderful rewards.


With love,

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"On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate." Psalm 145:5 (ESV)


How about you?

What are your favorite summer sights, sounds, and smells? What are you savoring this season? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

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