Pleasure and distraction are not the same
It might seem like the modern world is all about pleasure, people can buy new clothes, phones, and mouth-pleasure foods whenever they want, they can watch endless TV shows and movies, but that’s the thing – these are all just distractions! Things that are truly pleasurable engage your senses, they leave you satisfied and feeling good afterwards, they help you reduce cortisol and get from a stressed to a relaxed state. Here are a few examples of truly pleasurable activities.
Probably one of the most universal and simple pleasurable things is touch. Who wouldn’t feel relaxed after a good massage or sex? But even a simple hug can make a big difference. And you can include having pets in this category too. Most dog and cat owners would confirm that there’s nothing better.
Whether it’s listening to it or making it music can change how we feel in an instant. Try learning an instrument, sing in a shower, or just make time to listen to your favourite artists with full attention.
We all know that laughter is a powerful de-stressor but not enough people actively try to have more of it in their life. Having a group of friends or a partner that can make you laugh is the best thing, but a good stand-up comedy or a funny movie will do just fine too. And there’s some evidence that even just smiling for no reason creates a positive physiological reaction in your body.
Spending time outdoors is an especially powerful tool these days when we spend most of our time in the grey, hectic, and smelly cities. Try to spend a few hours in nature every week to surround yourself by various colours, aromas, and fresh air.
Sauna and cold
Another thing that is sure to make you forget about stress is sauna. Especially combined with a cold pool, sauna serves as a reset for the whole body and your head too. If you want the full benefits of sauna you have to go 3x a week but every visit is worth it even if you’re not regular.
We all know that all of these things are important and can help us fight stress, most of us even actively enjoy them. Yet these are the first things we cancel when the going gets tough. We don’t assign them the same priority as taking a pill or going to a doctor, yet they can be just as important, if not more. Try this experiment for one week: do something pleasurable for yourself every single day and then observe how you feel.