Embrace the Pace. How to Savor Your Way to More Happiness.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I just got back from a beautiful destination wedding in Mexico. It was an idyllic location and love-filled weekend.
The week before leaving for my trip I had packed my already full schedule. I had taken my usual New York City, type-A pace and ratcheted it up a notch, and I was functioning on a vibration that was pretty close to anxiety.
When I got to Mexico, everyone was moving at a verrrry different pace from me. The idea of punctuality, rushing, multi-tasking and hustling just didn’t seem to exist.
Scheduled times were more like a guideline than a rule.
Breakfast at 9 am meant breakfast could be ready sometime after 9 am, give or take an hour or so.
I was a little resistant to this at first. Where was the efficiency? The respect for time?
Then, the owner of the house we were renting matter-of-factly told me I needed to “embrace the pace.”
Embrace the pace. Those three words changed my mentality and consequently my mood and experience for the rest of the trip.
Embrace the pace.
In this case, embracing the pace meant letting go and slowing down.
Slowing down resulted in more mindfulness and presence.
Suddenly I could hear the ocean waves, smell the salt water. My orange juice tasted fresh and zesty, something I hadn’t noticed when I was gulping it down the day before while trying to get wifi and move on to the next thing.
It made me think about all the areas of my life in which I could embrace the pace....my career, my relationships, NYC transit....
Embracing the pace was causing me to do one of the things happiness experts have linked to increased happiness, savoring.
Savoring is taking time to stop and appreciate the positive experiences and emotions in life.
Savoring is stopping to smell the roses.
(Interested in learning more about savoring? Click here to read a great article by Eric Barker)
I hadn’t realized how much of life I was rushing through, not taking note of, and in turn how much of my life wasn’t contributing to my overall happiness. Which is crazy, because I KNOW the science behind it all.
Back in Manhattan a few days later, just after 26 inches of snow was dumped onto the city, I’m embracing a different pace. It’s a faster pace, but not as fast as usual, with travel delays and everyone just coming out of a weekend-long hibernation.
But, even amidst the bustling of the city, there is still time for some savoring.
I’m noticing the beauty of the snow. The taste of my morning coffee. Lingering on my morning kiss goodbye just a little bit longer. And, taking a moment to reflect and remember a fun moment from my trip.
Here are a few tips to embrace the pace, wherever you are, and slow down and savor:
Try doing one thing at a time. Stop multitasking (I know, I know. It feels so much more efficient to text and eat while we get things done, but multitasking temporarily lowers our IQ and makes us less happy as we miss what’s happening in front of us).
Slow down. Don’t rush through your task/activity.
Focus your attention on what you are doing or where you are.
Pay attention. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells.
Take a mental picture.
Give it a little gratitude.
You’ve just embraced the pace and savored your moment. This also works after the fact. Try thinking about and appreciating a moment that already happened.
Your overall happiness and satisfaction in life can improve dramatically from a little savoring every day. I mean, this is a topic that spans ancient Buddhist wisdom and the cutting edge science of neuroplasticity.
Where in your day can you embrace the pace and take the time to savor?
I challenge you to embrace the pace three times a day this week and practice savoring.