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  • Andi Davison LVT

A Shout Out for Savoring

Savoring. A light and buttery croissant that is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and filled with the most delectable chocolate hazelnut filling imaginable. Of course, this sweet treat comes complete with stellar company: a creamy cappuccino and the ambiance of a quaint cafe in a colorful German village. Savoring…yep, that sounds about right to me.

Notable psychologist Dr. Fred Bryant defines the practice as “noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life.” So simple. So important. Yet so under-utilized by many of us.


Savoring is meant to be a process where we seek out and focus on the positive emotions surrounding a situation. Sure, EASY to do when it comes to a mouthwatering treat enjoyed while vacationing in a fascinating foreign land…the positive emotions, memories created and joy experienced is a pleasure to relish in.

But what about savoring at work?! Yep, I said work…what if we were able to recognize and appreciate the positive things that happen every day at work?


Dr. Bryant and his colleagues have done a significant amount of research surrounding this exact concept, and the findings were exciting! He found that if we are able to utilize this skill at work, our levels of happiness will increase along with our life satisfaction. Not to mention broadened levels of creativity, productivity and motivation.


It’s like a double bonus - we feel better AND do better in our job!


All this from the simple act of savoring the small things…tiny moments of teamwork, subtle patient wins…things that you are already aware of but can implement savoring to enhance your overall wellbeing.

Many of us have every intention of finding the good in our daily work life. However, we get distracted by the overflow of appointments, feel overwhelmed by the pressure of being understaffed and are exhausted by just ‘surviving’ the workday. You aren’t alone…this is the struggle we are all facing. It’s real.


Dr. Bryant is quoted as saying “If happiness and joy are outcomes, then savoring is the process.” Let's dive deeper into this “process” and explore some specific examples of things that you can do, RIGHT NOW as a leader, to promote savoring for yourself, your team and your clinic.

In their article, Taking in the Good: How to Facilitate Savoring at Work, Charlotte Fritz and Morgan Taylor describe 10 strategies to enhance savoring at work. Let’s start with the most straightforward: Sharing.


Sharing a positive experience will prolong the positive emotion that it creates. I bet you already engage in this type of savoring…informally. What if you created a space to formally share positive events with your veterinary healthcare team? Create a platform or an expectation that will allow your team to look forward to the act of savoring.


Many of you have weekly/monthly staff meetings, yeah? What if you began by having a different person share a positive experience they had at work. A 5-minute, detailed account of something that made them smile.


How about including a savoring prompt in your one-to-one sessions with your team. End each check-in with the sincere desire to hear about an experience that made your staff laugh, smile or beam with pride.


This next suggestion is one I actually implemented at a previous hospital. I called it the “shout out board”. There was a simple white board hanging on the wall near the break room. I added fun stickers, loud markers and encouraged staff to fill up the board with “shout outs” to highlight hospital awesomeness.


Get creative! Implement a formal way to share positive experiences among your team. As a leader, you are in a wonderfully unique position to cheerlead - embrace this and advocate savoring.


Already have a “shout out board”? Want a different type of strategy to maximize savoring benefits? Watch for my next post which will bring an even larger helping of specific ideas to help your team savor and take a “great dane” sized leap closer to flourishing within this profession we love.


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