Life’s Uncertainty Got You Down? Research Suggests Savoring

Life’s Uncertainty Got You Down? Research Suggests Savoring

via Psychology Today by Grant Hillary Brenner

KEY POINTS
Life is both uncertain and predictable, and uncertainty can make people feel anxious and out of control.
Uncertainty also opens up room for positive change, if approached constructively.
Savoring, research suggests, is a potential adaptive response to uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a double-edged sword. Uncertainty tends to make people more anxious and leads to efforts to control what happens. Expecting the worst can be self-protective, making it harder to be surprised when bad things happen. At the same time, anticipating that things will go poorly can influence our decisions and behaviors and increase the likelihood of negative outcomes. Accepting uncertainty, even leaning into it, can feel more risky while opening up room for more possibilities, greater adaptability, and perhaps greater satisfaction.

Does savoring buffer how we react to uncertainty?
Savoring, as described by researchers Gregory, Quoidbach, Haase, and Piff in the journal Emotion (2021), is “a form of emotion regulation that involves deliberately upregulating positive affect.” Savoring may happen spontaneously or it may be a choice we actively make — or even a philosophy of life.

“For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy” — Aristotle

In their research, Gregory and colleagues studied how uncertainty affects our capacity for savoring. Increased savoring has been linked with seeking positive circumstances, choosing to look at the pleasant side of things, taking action to make things more pleasant, re-evaluating how we have interpreted events to find positive aspects, and behaving differently to bring out the best in situations.

Study authors review the literature on the many reported benefits of savoring including: improving well-being, raising self-esteem, increasing happiness, alleviating depression, increasing resilience, and bolstering our sense of life’s meaningfulness — plus potential beneficial effects on disease processes like reducing inflammation and alleviating physical symptoms of cancer.

To better understand the role of low levels of uncertainty, Piff and colleagues conducted a series of three studies probing how savoring and uncertainty related…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE