Trigger: All beverage breaks.
Tool: As you take your first sip of a beverage, STOP for a moment, take a deep breath, freeze the frame (make a mental or audible camera-‘click’ sound) and think, “Life is good.” Create the habit of STOPing to take a mental snapshot. Notice, breathe, absorb, and savor. Imprint on yourself the happiness habit of noting to yourself, “Ahhhh, this is a good moment.”
When I was in college, I had the great fortune to spend my junior year in London, England. It was a fascinating year in most regards full of adventures that felt fresh in ways that only twenty year olds can experience. Walking down a crowded street and riding the underground subway (affectionately called the ‘tube’) were thrilling adventures for me.
Having never lived in an urban environment before, I was fascinated by the many sights and sounds of big city living. But one curious association that I have with England is the complete enthusiasm – ney, near worship – that the English have for their beverages.
The Brits are, of course, known for their abiding affection for tea of all varieties, but they have equal enthusiasm for their blackberry juice, cold colas, and pints at the pub. Yet, it wasn’t just the mere consumption of liquids that struck me. It was the ritual, the courtship, the rapture. Whether it was the ‘ahhh’ reaction to that first sip of tea perfectly mixed with sugar and cream or the reverent first encounter with the foam on the top of a pint of ale, I thought to myself again and again, “these people know how to appreciate their beverages.”
If you’re old enough to remember the Lipton ‘plunge’ advertisements from the 1970’s, you’ll remember that sense of ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHHH’ as the happy drinker fell backwards in a pool of cool water, refreshed and sat isfied with a glass of iced tea.
Multiple times a day we have just such an opportunity for complete satisfaction . . . that is, if we remember to STOP, notice and savor. Every morning most of us drink coffee, tea, juice or milk. Every afternoon we take coffee breaks, tea breaks, water breaks. Every evening we drink more water, lemonade, colas, milk, wine or beer. Every first sip can be a moment of inner refreshment, of utter delight.
So swirl your beverage as a fine wine connoisseur would do in a tasting, open your senses to the experience, take your mental ‘click’, and give thanks for the nectar. “Ahhhhhh, this is living.”
Purpose: This tool helps train your mind to focus on moments of simple pleasure. It identifies a happy moment and holds it in your consciousness. It cultivates gratitude as well, a quality highly correlated with peacefulness. This tool is also useful to mentally ‘highlight’ any enjoyable simple pleasure such as sinking into a hot tub, eating a piece of chocolate, hugging a dear friend, sitting down to a holiday feast, watching a sunset, or pulling the covers up at night. It creates a ‘pause’ which momentarily stops the physical and emotional spiral of the day.