What is it about?

Savoring is the purposeful creation, enjoyment, and extension of positive emotions. People with high levels of worry--Generalized Anxiety Disorder--may worry less and feel happier after repeated savoring practices. In this study, we compared use of a smartphone app for savoring (SkillJoy) to a control mental health app in clinically-severe worriers. The control comparison app used mindfulness-related activities similar to SkillJoy, but had no focus on positive emotion. Participants used their condition's app for 7 days. We then compared change in negative and positive outcomes between the two conditions. Overall, results suggested that the savoring app significantly reduced worry and depression symptoms while also significantly increasing positive emotion and savoring practices. It did so more than the control mental health app for every outcome except depression, which meaningfully decreased for both apps equally. Results suggest repeated savoring may both reduce symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and increase well-being.

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Why is it important?

Historically, clinical interventions and psychotherapy have focused on directly changing negative emotions and thoughts. Savoring is a practice that focuses solely on intentionally enjoying and extending positive emotions. This study demonstrates that a positive emotion intervention like savoring may both reduce negative symptoms (like worry and depression) while also increasing well-being (like positive emotions) at the same time. It suggests it may be beneficial to add savoring techniques to treatments and psychotherapies for people with worry and anxiety.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Upregulating positive emotion in generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial of the SkillJoy ecological momentary intervention., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, January 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000794.
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