How to Savour a Moment: The 5-4-3-2-1 Method

How to Savour a Moment: The 5-4-3-2-1 Method

Three years ago, I had experienced a beautiful moment.. but I almost missed it. 
I was at a TLC/Nelly concert that my best friend had bought me tickets for. I was sitting four rows away from the stage when Chili, walked across the stage. My 12 year old self squealed inside of me as she began the opening lyrics to "Diggin' on You". I sat slack jawed watching her perform, mesmerized that she, 20 years late, still looked the SAME.
I immediately felt for my phone, and was about to "capture" the moment, when I hesitated for a moment.
I looked around.
Hundreds of people surrounded me. Phones up, watching her through the lens of their phone. 
I put the phone back into my pocket was a new realization:
I didn't wanted to remember this.
So I went for it. Danced and sang along at the top of my lungs.
Minutes pass, and I can feel the joy in every ounce of my body.
And I like to think Chili felt it too, because I looked up at her pointing in my direction singing her solo part.
A tear streamed down the side of my beaming face. The little Tiff, still inside me, had taken the wheel.
I looked over at my best friend and gave her a small hug and thanked her for the tickets. 

Savouring a Moment.. and why it matters. 

When scientists look at how to live a happy life, they look at a couple of different factors. Two of those are coping and savouring
According to Live happy,
Savoring is the capacity to notice, appreciate and intensify the positive aspects of our lives. Coping skills help diminish the effects of painful moments, while savoring helps amplify the beauty of joyful ones. Both are essential to living a happy life.
When we savour a moment, we amplify its joy.
I love that.
By taking the time to savour, we have embedded the memory we can keep for a lifetime. Even though a picture can help us capture a moment, what are we losing by trying to get the perfect shot? 
Two ways to savour a moment are to:
1. enjoy the present (experiential savouring) and
2. to go back in time (time related). 
Jordi Quoidbach, Ph.D., of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, describes experiential savoring as:
“a mindful approach in which one focuses attention on the present moment and systematically suppresses thoughts unrelated to the current experience.”
To savour a moment, we must suppress everything else BUT that moment. 
Sooo.. how do we do that?
(And no, it's not just about putting your phone away.) 

How to Stop and Savour

In an average day, I can't say that I have too many "TLC" moments. Many of my moments are tiny. Little happy flickers of thought I tend to miss because my mind is already off doing the next thing. 
In short, i'm missing my f*ck yes moments.
For example, when I first started flowjo I knew that I needed media attention to get my business off the ground. I had a list of places I wanted my products to be, but one of them outshined them all.
Top of my list was a television show here in Toronto called CityLine.
My mom watched the show everyday. And I know she would get a real kick out of seeing me on there.
Yesterday, I found out that the show posted about The Self Care Bucket List on their holiday gift guide.
It made its rounds on social media and I almost let the moment go.
As an entrepreneur, I went into "boss mode" - I started sharing it on social media, and adding the logo to the website. Almost without even thinking. 
A few hours later, I picked up the phone and it was my mother. She was so happy. She saw the post.
I almost missed this moment, that I had waited years for. 
After I got off the phone with her, I really wanted to enjoy the moment.
So I closed my eyes...
And told myself to enjoy it...
I quit.
I couldn't relax. I couldn't savour. Then, the panic rolled in. 
Why was I doing all this if I couldn't ENJOY it.
Before I started to have a full on meltdown, I decided to shift my brain from action mode to savouring mode...
..that's when I remembered the 5-4-3-2-1 method. 

The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Method

I learned the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding method as a way to stop or prevent a panic attack. Since then, i've started to use it for anytime when I want to fully immerse myself in the present.
So here's how it works. 
5 - LOOK: Take a moment and look around for five things you can see, and say them out loud.
Right now for example, I am in a cafe so I would say to myself: 
I can see a person waiting in line.
I can see a really delicious blueberry muffin.
I can see the espresso machine. 
I can see the table i'm sitting at.
I can see the laptop in front of me. 
4 - FEEL: Now it's time to pay attention to what's going on inside of you. Think of four things you can feel and say those outloud.
I can feel the warmth of my hot chocolate mug. 
I can feel the floor underneath me. 
I can feel the soft sweatshirt against my skin. 
I can feel my butt on the chair i'm sitting on.
3 - LISTEN: Now it's time to listen for three sounds. 
I can hear the people having a conversation next to me. 
I can hear the espresso machine steaming milk. 
I can hear the heater in the pipes. 
2 - SMELL: Say two things you can smell. If you can't move, or you can't smell anything, think of your two favourite smells. 
I can smell the lavender of my perfume. 
I can smell coffee. 
(My two favourite smells! How nice!) 
1 - TASTE: Say one thing you can taste. Also, if you can't taste anything than name your favourite taste. 
I can taste the cocoa in my hot chocolate. 

Thinking back at my savoured memories

 When I recall some of my favourite memories, I realize that many of them are half memories. I can remember being there, and how it sounded or what it looked like, but they seem like half experiences. 
I felt like I wasn't fully there. 
I mean the TLC concert moment, I was definitely there.
I remember what it sounded like, smelled like, I remember how cold it was once the sun set, I remember the hard seats. 
I can do that because I immersed myself in the experience as it happened. 
If you savour a moment mindfully in the present, it helps you experience it fully in the future. 
Before I allowed myself to enjoy the CityLine moment, I made sure I wiped the slate clean so to speak. 

Try it for Yourself..

In order to remember this moment, I would love if you could take the time right now to do it once. That way, it will be easier to recall it when you need it most. 
  1. What are five things you see? Don't forget to say out loud "I can see.."
  2. What are four things you can feel? "I can feel.."
  3. What are three things you can hear? "I can hear..."
  4. What are two things you can smell? "I can smell..."
  5. What is one thing you can taste? "I can taste.."
Now think about one of your favourite memories that you can recall? And ask yourself the following questions. 
  • What do you see? 
  • What does it feel like?
  • What does it sound like?
  • What does it smell like?
  • What does it taste like?
And let me know in the comments, how your little moment of joy went for you!
Here's to you savouring the moment, 
Tiffany xo

Tiffany daSilva

Tiffany DaSilva is the founder of and lover of all things self care, chihuahuas and cross stitch. You can read her posts about how she handles the day to day using mindfulness and self care here on Pitter Patter! Flowjo's lifestyle blog.

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