Savoring is defined as an effortful process that serves to enhance or prolong the enjoyment of a positive experience. Both empirical psychological research and conventional wisdom suggest that, on the whole, people savor far too infrequently. This application examines one type of experience that is thought to promote savoring: a bittersweet experience (BSE). BSEs are thought to occur when a positive experience is soon ending, and this ending is made salient. It is hypothesized that an awareness of the fleeting, transient nature of a positive experience will lead to a distinct mixed emotional state, one in which positive and negative affect interact to enhance overall appreciation and savoring. Five studies will examine the extent to which 1) optimal levels of savoring promote appreciation, mindfulness, and positive mood, both online and retrospectively, and 2) BSEs lead to a distinct mixed emotional state, increased savoring, and increased appreciation of the experience. A focus on a positive experience's ending may serve as an effective savoring strategy, enhancing our tendency to """"""""stop and smell the roses."""""""" Implications for both depressed and nondepressed populations are discussed. For example, while little research has focused on the ways depressed people interpret positive life events, this application will examine the degree to which they are able to savor.
|Kurtz, Jaime L (2008) Looking to the future to appreciate the present: the benefits of perceived temporal scarcity. Psychol Sci 19:1238-41|