The Unexpected Health Benefits of Pleasure
Have you had an experience of pleasure today? In my quest for simple practices that keep me and my clients sane and healthy, I have discovered that pleasure is central to the experience of peace, happiness, joy, and vitality.
Pleasure comes in all sizes and shapes – in a job well done, a few moments in the sun, a hug, a good book, music, the taste and smell of a perfectly ripe peach…
Daily experiences of pleasure are needed to find balance and stability and not lose sight of who you are in the midst of everyday stresses and responsibilities.
The most important thing to understand is that to truly be your best, you need pleasure as much as you need air, food, and water.
A life without sensual pleasure is like bread without butter – dry, hard to swallow, and only to be accepted in extreme survival circumstances.
If your memory of pleasure seems fleeting or far between, you might find yourself making these kinds of excuses for the lack of it in your daily life:
Too busy – not a priority
Too tired – no energy left over for yourself
Just don’t think about it, and don’t know where to start
Or you might find that the experiences you do have of pleasure are limited to guilty indulgences in “forbidden foods” and alcohol, which can turn a pleasurable experience into a tortured one.
Or you may be making the mistake of tying sensual pleasure only to sex – which counts, but is just one of many dimensions in the sensual world.
To invite more pleasure into your life, the first step is to think about the things that fill you up, that make you happy, that bring you joy…
What are the things you like to do that give you a thrill and make you shine?
Write them down right now, in two columns –
the small things that keep you in the pleasure zone all day or week
the big things you may only get to do once in awhile
Now, schedule them into your calendar – yes – I am serious! Do the small things daily or weekly. Plan a few big things across the year.
If you can schedule a dentist appointment, which is surely one of the least pleasurable things on my calendar, you can certainly schedule a moment in the sun, or whatever makes you laugh and smile and puts a sparkle in your eye.
Here’s few examples of what gives me pleasure:
I need to have nature around me, to look at, investigate, revel in. I love the smell of essential oils, and going on trips to new places.
Here’s what I do:
I use essential oils daily as part of my morning and evening rituals, and I make sure to take a walk in nature or sit on my porch and watch the birds each day. A few times a year I make sure to travel someplace I have never been before, even if it’s not far.
The experience of pleasure is essential to being a human being. You may survive, but you can’t thrive without your daily doses of pleasure.
What do you do to keep your pleasure zone alive and humming?