Why Pleasure Must Be a Daily Priority

The soul works primarily through pleasure.
— Thomas Moore

"Yeah, right, focus on my pleasure. I wish I had time for that. Maybe if I didn't have a job and three kids."

"I'm a New Yorker, we don't do sensory pleasure."

"I have no idea what even brings me pleasure anymore. "

There are common responses I get when I suggest a client makes PLEASURE an essential step in working toward her goals.

We live in this task-master, drill-sergeant, put-on-your-big-girl-panties world where we equate exhaustion and suffering with being a mature grown up who is doing the right thing.

And that harsh push push push game works for a little bit, and it feels like you're doing the best possible thing.

But denying yourself pleasure and joy on a regular basis leads to super quick burn out, shot nerves, and a fierce desire to rebel and eat. all. the. bread!!!

When you integrate your pleasure into your everyday routines - particularly when you are in the midst of doing some hard work toward life changes - you are far less likely to burn out. You are far more likely to think creatively, be open to options, to persist past the initial start-up phase.

When you open your senses up to pleasure on a regular basis, you send a signal to your brain that you are not in danger, that your basic needs are cared for, that you are working hard but don't need to kick into fight-or-flight mode. Pleasure provides balance to the hard work of change, soothes the nervous system, and satisfies your human desire to feel good. 

Here are some simple ways to integrate Sensory Pleasure into your life today:

  1. Wear the socks that feel soft or look fun.
  2. Unbutton your pants as often as possible.
  3. Have a lotion on hand that feels good (and smells good if you're into that).
  4. Notice how the lights and shadows move.
  5. Listen to something that makes you laugh.
  6. Take a bath and turn off the lights.
  7. Pick the bright plates because they're more fun.
  8. Tell yourself over and over again throughout the day that your pleasure matters.
  9. Tell your inner task-master that you understand how uncomfortable it gets when you stop to enjoy yourself.
  10. Encourage someone else to focus on her/his pleasure.

Please don't wait until AFTER the crisis and hard work is over to find some pleasure. Find some pleasure DURING the crisis and hard work.

You will be more effective, creative, and successful than if you gut it out, and your mind and body will feel so much better.

Win, mother effing, Win. (Cursing brings me pleasure, and it's scientifically supported. Don't tell my kids, please.)

With love and optimism,

Dr. J

p.s. - The Mom Hour podcast, with Meagan Francis and Sarah Powers, discussed the power of pleasure during difficult seasons of parenthood. Take a listen!