Savor While You’re Surfing...The Internet

Discover how to boost positive emotions while surfing the web.

Posted Jun 01, 2020

Pixabay / No Attribution Required
Source: Pixabay / No Attribution Required

Too often we let the good moments we experience online pass by without truly savoring or celebrating them. When we savor these moments, we pause and attempt to fully experience the positive emotions that have arisen in that moment, and as a result, we create longer-lasting positive emotions and greater well-being (take the well-being quiz here to learn more).

While researching my new book, Outsmart Your Smartphone, I started to realize we can even build our savoring skills online... while we're surfing the Internet. Here's how:

Savor the Past Using Online Photos

When we’re surfing online or on social media, the easiest way to practice savoring is likely by reflecting on and bringing up positive memories from the past. These days, there are large collections of old photos online – taken by us or others we know – that can help us recall our past positive experiences.

To savor the past, look through old photos until you find one that reminds you of a positive event that you long forgot. Spend a few moments thinking deeply about this event. As you are thinking back on the pleasant event, think about the people, smells, sounds, physical sensations, and sights that you experienced. Think about – and try to re-create – the positive emotions that you felt around the time of the event. As you are savoring, let your thoughts wander to anything else about the happy experience that makes you feel good. Then, just mentally hold on to these emotions, trying to make them as strong as possible.

Savor the Present Moment as You Surf

There are near-infinite positive moments that just pass us by when we're cruising the Internet. But if we stop for a moment to savor and appreciate these moments, we can make them last longer. As you are surfing the Internet, pay attention anytime you experience something positive. Maybe your friend shares a video that inspires you. Maybe a colleague posts a joke that makes you laugh. Or maybe you watch a video that teaches you something interesting. If you find that your social media is dominated by negative stuff, there are tons of cat videos or awe-inducing landscapes available. Just navigate over to Youtube to find one.

When you notice yourself feeling good, pause for just a moment and pay attention to how these positive emotions feel in your body. Mentally try to hold onto these emotions by thinking about how good they feel and how much you appreciate feeling this way. As you continue to go about your day, either working or playing online, try to remember that whenever something feels good, you can take a moment to just pause and savor that feeling.

Extend Positive Moments by Sharing Them

To extend a positive moment even longer, show it, tell it, or share it with others right away. Keep in mind that the positive moment doesn’t have to be big. You could simply have seen a cute post and think hey, “This is funny; I want to share it!”

Start by sending a personal message to someone. You might call or text a friend. Or, talk to the people around you about what you’re feeling. Just be sure when you do that you’re not "humble bragging". Instead, use your positive experience as an opportunity to connect with others. For example, you could send the message: Hey, I’m feeling great today. I’d love to get together with you for coffee and make my day even better.

But if you don’t have the time to connect with others in person, don’t let it stop you from sharing your positive feelings. For example, you might say, I’m so pumped after our meeting afternoon. It was great seeing you. Or, Are you watching the football game? That last play was amazing! Or perhaps, I was so glad to see so many people getting out to vote in last night’s election. Rather than talking about what happened to us, our goal is to share a positive experience with someone who you think would enjoy it. As a result, they get to experience it, you get to savor it, and you both get to boost your happiness.