3 steps to adding more pleasure to your life
Does life feel like it's more about work than it is play? Sometimes, when we get sucked into the daily monotony of 'adulting' and everything that comes with it, pleasure goes out the window. Here's how to get it back!
Pleasure is a broad word that means different things to different people so the first step is to figure out what it means to you. For some people it's a walk in nature. For others (specifically those who were craving a break from work) it was a nap!
Now obviously, there are other things in life that bring me pleasure too, it's just that being a bit of a foodie, a chocolate addict and a movie nut this is what first comes to mind. So what comes up for you?
Knowing what brings you pleasure is important because in a world where we value achievement and getting things done, sometimes we forget to make time for the bliss and joy that pleasure brings with it. So here are 3 simple steps to injecting more pleasure into your life:
Step 1: Know what's pleasurable for you
Create a list to get your juices flowing, and if you're struggling to find out what it is for you, ask yourself these questions. "When do I feel happiest?" "When do I feel most alive?" "When does my soul feel most nourished?"
Step 2: ...actually do it!
Book it into your schedule and actually do it! After all, if we can make time for our boss' agendas, our friends needs and everything else we are trying to do, it's important to carve out time to connect with what brings us pleasure. Not only will you start doing more of what you love (which will make you a happier person in general) but planning your pleasure also has another great bonus, mentioned in step 3...
Step 3: Anticipation is half the pleasure!
Positive psychology studies the actions and behaviours that create happiness in people and it has been noted many times that it's not just what you do that makes you happy, it's looking forward to doing it that makes the difference. When you look back on anything you've done that's brought you great pleasure....wasn't the build up almost just as fun as the actual event? Think about when you were planning that amazing European holiday, or when you know you have a 90 minute full body massage booked in at the end of the week or you are going on a date with someone you've just met and are really in to....the anticipation puts you into that state of pleasure before the event even happens. Much like a gratitude list draws you into the energy of the abundance you want to create in your life, booking in pleasurable activities draws you into that energy of pleasure now, and makes your day to day life that little bit more exciting and inspiring!
The biggest aspect of experiencing pleasure is to be fully present in what you're doing. This is the part that many of us miss, because we spend so much time in our heads. Have you ever had that experience of meeting up with a friend for coffee and afterwards you realised that you actually missed out on the enjoyment because you weren't really present and 'in' it? Maybe you were worrying about something happening at home or thinking about all the things you had to do afterwards.
At the heart of it, pleasure is really about being totally present in the moment and connected to the flow and bliss of life.
So connect in to what brings you pleasure, book it in, start looking forward to it and show up completely present for it. Taken regularly, these steps are guaranteed to help build your happiness and self love muscles!
A lot of us are struggling with the pace of modern life and the way it revolves around work and the office. Yeah, of course, there are people who are rockstars in their niches who love spending 10 hours a day doing what they do, but unfortunately, these people are the exception. Most of us have ended up working hard and getting into debt to fund a career that we thought would make us feel successful and abundant, when in reality we've ended up feeling stressed and anxious.... and with no idea how to change it. Most of us don't have a plan B. After all, if you were brought up to work hard, get the degree and 'make something of yourself' you weren't supposed to need one. But as more and more people around us are trying to deal with panic attacks, popping antidepressants, developing irritable bowel disease or just generally losing their zest for life, the question that's coming up for a lot of us is "Is this really worth it?"
If I'm too exhausted from work to socialise with my friends, is this really worth it? If stress is eating away at my gut lining and now I can't eat croissants, is it really worth it? If my sex life is non existent because I can't lie down without falling asleep, is it really worth it? If I'm not the happiest, healthiest and most peaceful, loved-up version of myself, is this really worth it?
It's easy to feel hopeless or resigned when we look at our current way of working and think that's just "the way it is"...but it isn't. When the pain point is big enough and enough people desire a change, "the way things are" starts to change. And it's changing at the moment. People want to spend more time with their family and loved ones. People want to start buying more ethically and supporting local farmers and growers. People want to experience travel and cultures and new ways of thinking rather than settling down and paying off a huge mortgage.
It's not necessarily about quitting your job or doing anything radical; it's about designing a balanced life that keeps you happy and healthy.
You're not broken if you don't want 'the norm' and the daily grind - the tides are turning and all you need to do to is listen to your heart when it tells you that something isn't working.
I know that while you might know that your life isn't working for you, you might not know what to do about it. It can be so frustrating to realise that you don't want what you have but to also have no clarity about how to get to a place of happiness and inner peace. That's why I want to share with you the The Ideal Day exercise. This was one of the first exercises I did on my path to easing out of 9-5 work. It is life-changing, game-changing and thought-changing. I seriously can't recommend it enough. Everything that changed in my life stemmed from this exercise. Even if you're someone who normally hates journalling or thinks that these exercises are 'hard work' at best or 'new age fluff' at worst, I really recommend you give it a go. Here's how:
The Ideal Day exercise
Get out a pen and a journal and write down your ideal day. Imagine your day as if anything was possible and write down, in the present tense, what you are doing. What time do you wake up? Who do you wake up next to? What kind of bed do you wake up in? What do you see around you? What does the bedroom look like? Be as detailed as possible about what you want to see and experience. What do you do when you get up? Do you exercise? Do you live near a beach that you go for a walk on? Do you have a dog that you take with you? Maybe you go to a yoga class every morning at the beautiful studio down the street instead of going for a walk. There are no 'shoulds' here, no 'right or wrong', just whatever you want in your ideal day. How does your body feel? Are you healthy, energised, toned, slim? What do you eat for breakfast and who do you share breakfast with? What does your ideal house look like? When you work, what kind of work are you doing? Why are you excited to do it? How does it inspire and challenge you? Who do you get to help through your work? Who do you get the pleasure of networking and creating with by doing your work? What difference are you making in the world? What do you do for fun in your day? What do you do to relax? What travel do you have planned? What events, conferences, music festivals, or trips are you looking forward to in your near future. Write everything in the present tense and don't allow your rational mind to place limits on your ideal day based on time or money. Imagine you have all the resources possible to create whatever you want. Fill out every hour of your day until you go to bed.
Looking over your list, what's ONE action step you could take now to move you closer to your ideal life? For example, if you want to walk on the beach every morning, can you choose to do that now? Even if it's only a couple of days a week? Can you move closer to the beach? Perhaps you can start only make it on the weekends at this stage... but you could put an image of someone walking on the beach on your vision board and some shells on your nightstand. You could download an audio of beach sounds and listen to it as you walk around your block in the morning. Step into the experience of your ideal day and I promise that one day at a time, your reality will shift to match that which is on your page. The more you believe it, the more you feel the emotion of having it, the faster it will come to you.
Be courageous: leave a comment with the one action step you will take to move you from your current reality to your Ideal Day. If you're going to create a big life you need a support team to see your desires and cheer you on.
and of course, if you need any extra support to move in the direction of your dreams then contact me for a chat!
A lot of people are suffering because they're not making time for their art. They feel stifled by their 'day jobs' and constantly finding themselves asking "Is this all there is?" What they are longing for is self expression through a creative outlet.
I'm speaking to everyone here. If you're reading this thinking "I'm not a creative person" - yes, you are. You are an artist, whether you know it or not. We all are. We were all born with a unique mode of self expression, whether that’s painting or cooking or writing or playing an instrument. The problem is we have this crazy society that says that the things we get paid for deserve more time than the things that light us up. So we do more of those uninspiring things, then wonder why life feels so boring every single day.
So what's really stopping you from spending more time doing what you love? If the answer is simply because all your time is taken up doing what you have to do to make money, it's time to evaluate where you can cut some of these dead hours out of your schedule. And I do mean dead hours. They aren't helping bring any new growth into your life and to put it bluntly, your soul is dying when you continue to tell it that you don't give a crap about what's important to it. Yes, you need money to live, but that existence is pretty narrow and lacklustre without the joy that creativity brings.
When you hold back your self expression, you suffer; and often this leads to anger patterns or emotional eating habits that sabotage your physical and mental health. Following your desires is not an optional whim, it's a necessity for your health. Have a look through your schedule and see where you can trim a few hours of things that don't serve you (watching tv, surfing Facebook, one of the 20 times you check emails during the day) and replace it with something that lights you up. Let your artist out to play :)