My hope is that you all find happiness. Much research has been done about the art of pleasure and happiness and this is a brief takeaway. There are two factors in play, feel-good (hedonia) and feel-purpose (eudaimonia). Balancing these pathways in the key to remaining fulfilled, engaged and productive.
Feel-good is about pleasure, enjoyment, comfort and satisfaction. There is an absence of distress and pain. Hedonia is associated with:
Feel-purpose is more complex, it’s way deeper. It’s about meaning, authenticity, personal growth and excellence. Eudaimonia is associated with:
Today, I’ll be focusing on pleasure and what feels good. It seems like such an easy question, what feels good? This is different for everybody, it requires you to listen and become aware. Pleasure is a positive experience with our senses. It’s the smell of fresh bloomed roses, the loving touch of another, the view from on top of a mountain, the taste of authentic Thai food or fresh chai. These moments are usually short lived and visceral. They rely on something external to give you a hit of dopamine. There’s nothing wrong with that, in moderation. We crave these moments. It’s your soul telling you what it wants. It’s the most primal part of happiness. Get you know what you like, what your desires are and how to get it. I want to feel like a queen. To me that feels like being draped in soft, flowing fabrics, being surrounded by beautiful flowers and stones, taking a jasmine infused bath by candlelight and listening to music that makes my body want to move.
In these small, fleeting moments pleasure can be found. This may seem self indulgent because it is. This is about preserving yourself and taking what your vessel needs. Find the time to create these moments within your day. You all probably know someone that could benefit from some mind blowing sex. You know I had to go there. It’s so true though. When a person is happy you can tell at first glance. They have an energy around them that’s magnetic. They smile and laugh, there’s an ease about them.
Money can buy pleasure. All of that partying, shopping and entertainment will bring you pleasure, for a minute. This can be very addicting. Without the other half of the pie, purpose, this can be a slippery slope. All the wanting and liking is great if it’s under control. Box it in a bit. Creating a budget may be a good way to go. Substances can also bring pleasure. That’s tricky. There needs to discipline around it. Addiction creeps in when the lines between healthy self-pleasure and excess are blurred. Finding healthy options are definitely the way to go. Heroin and cigarettes may not be the best route to find happiness. Numbing out will not get you there either. It’s easy to feel constant pressure to buy and want, to keep up with your peers or people you look up to. This day in age we are bombarded with people telling us what we need. If you get quiet, find some space to breathe and ask yourself what you truly desire, you will find answers.
I’ve noticed that some people have a hard time finding time to do something that brings them joy. Weird, right. There are so many obligations can come with being an adult. Well, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. If you’re having troubles knowing where to start:
Appeal to your senses: Essential oils are amazing. Smells can transport you and bring about memories. A smell creates immediate reaction is the brain. Touch is transformative. I’ve built a large part of my life around it. A simple hug can lower stress, make you feel connected, build self-esteem, promote trust and reduce depression. Touch is critical for survival. Surrounding yourself by beauty, exploring new places or checking out the local art scene can feed your soul. Please your taste buds, I live to eat and drink. Try new foods, ask your body what it needs to consume to be healthy and happy. Hearing a song can change your day. They can give you power, help you grieve and concur the world. If the music is right, you can do anything. Podcasts help you learn on the go, sounds can induce sleep and a phone call can make your day.
Make leisure time a priority: Easier said than done for the majority of the population. I happen to covet this time, it’s important to my well being. What’s the point of living if it’s always filled with work and obligation? Do something you enjoy doing. Invite a sense of wonder, savoring, sensuality, playfulness, spontaneity, and the ability to let go into your life. Block off the time in your calendar if you need to. Schedule in some white space to just be. This will do wonders for your mental health. I highly recommend sleeping, moving your body and going outside. Having clear boundaries makes leisure time possible.
Make time for contemplation and appreciation: Give some space to think about the things you’re grateful for. Take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive and beautiful about your day. My mantra is “thank you, more please”.
Remember this is just one part of what makes a person happy. Read more about feel-purpose here. As with everything, it’s all about balance. I’ll dive deeper into self-purpose in a later post. I invite you to indulge in life’s pleasures, in the most respectful way.
I’d love to hear what brings you pleasure. Do share…