Recently I was propose the question,” what can you do to make your day more pleasurable?”
So I reflected over the things that I do that add pleasure to each day. These are not things I do all once but I attempt to do one to three of them a day. In doing so, and make my day a little more pleasurable.
- First one is kind of obvious as it shows up more more ideas of self-care and pursuit of happiness. It is 5 to 10 minute meditation in the beginning at some point during the day. Time and agin studies have shown that by allowing ourselves even just five minutes to focus on our breath helps relieve stress and anxiety. The result of which allows us to have room to experience more pleasure or happiness.
- Smile. Not fake smile or pretend smiling. Make an honest effort to smile at someone. The person sitting next to you or the stranger you walk by, someone you are talking to, or even in the mirror at yourself. Smiling uses different muscles in your face and in fact releases tension. Try laughing as well. Read a funny meme or watch a funny short video. Laughter and smiling are pleasurable experiences.
- Attempt to eat one healthy meal or snack during the day. Not only is it good for your body but certain foods are actually mood boosters and can make us feel better. Think dark chocolate (just one oz), fruits and vegetables, foods high in B-12, fish, and certain nuts. Not only do these foods improve your mood but we get a little boost when we accomplish something like eating healthy. I challenge to look up a new recipe that is healthy and try it out. See how it makes you feel.
- Take a break. We were not made to go through our day without breaks. Our biorhythms aren’t made that way. There is a reason most people need to stop around 10 and then around 3 if they are working an 8-5 schedule. It is because we experience a natural dip in our body rhythms signaling a need for a quick break. Pay attention to it. Working through our breaks adds to our stress not reduce it. No matter where you work or even if you are someone who doesn’t work in a traditional job, take a break. Your body needs it.
- Connection. Spend a few minutes connecting with someone you care about. People are not meant to be in isolation. We need, even crave human connection. It is essential to our survival. Could we live without human connection…it is possible but there is a reason that infants can fail to thrive simply because there is no human connection. It does our psyche well to seek out human connection, especially with those we can trust. Most of the time, I feel better after speaking with such a person. It reminds us we are not alone. And it takes me to the next thing.
- Get out of yourself. If we are talking to a friend and listening to them, we are out of our own heads. Another way to get out of yourself is to commit to some kind of service it a way that is comfortable for you. But whatever it is, it has to be bigger than just you. So maybe it is a non-profit, or involvement in a recovery program, teaching art to underprivileged kids. Maybe it is that you take the old woman down the street a hot meal once a week. The point is to give back to the world and put ourselves in perspective with the world. Often giving back makes us just feel good too.
- Build a “pick me up” into your day. Give yourself something to look forward to at some point. A good book, a chance to curl up on the couch with a movie or cuddle someone you love. Maybe it is a bubble bath or a game of basketball with friends. Whatever it is, the goal is for it to be pleasurable and something to look forward to. Some quick ideas could be tied to your ten minute break: a piece of dark chocolate, or an iced coffee, pick up your favorite magazine. Just make sure you allow yourself a “pick me up” moment.
- Make a List. Now, this one doesn’t seem as obvious but let me explain. I have found this kind of list SO HELPFUL. So I keep a running list next to me through out the day. It is so if I have an idea for something while I am in the middle of another project or chore, I can just jot it down real quick. Then I don’t have to stress over trying to remember and I can stay focused on what I am currently doing.It isn’t necessarily a “to-do” list. Sometimes they are topic ideas, things I want to google later, pictures I want to take. It is a random list but it makes my life much more pleasurable than trying to remember that “thing” that I forgot.
- Ok. Disclaimer: I LOVE LOVE my coffee. BUT there is such a thing as too much caffeine especially later in the day, early evening. It can mess with our sleep patterns if we are not careful about how much or when we drink it. I have been known to drink coffee at night, mostly for the taste but that is rare and I tend to be awake late already. Christmas Eve I won’t even tell you how much coffee I have consumed. That being said, sleep is essential to happiness and too much caffeine makes one jittery not happy. You don’t have to give it up, just seek a pleasurable middle ground.
- Be Creative! Add some creative time into your day. What is your creative pleasure? Painting, coloring, writing, drawing…? Whatever it is, do it. One of my favorite shows is NCIS, I make no apologies for it, and one of the main characters, Gibbs, is ALWAYS working on a boat. It is what brings him pleasure after chasing bad guys. Find your “boat”. If you aren’t sure, experiment. Try a coloring book, or drawing mandala’s. Play with play dough or create a new recipe from scratch. Sometimes you may find you have a couple of creative tools to turn to, even better. Creativity releases stress, and is just plain FUN.
Finally, Express Gratitude. Being grateful for what we have is a good reminder of how happy we are in our current moment. Yes, things can be worse But look at the good I have right now. People who regularly express gratitude tend to me happier and less stressed. Sounds like a ticket to putting some pleasure into my day. Keep it simple if you need to, just list three things. Overtime it will become a habit and will become easier to write.
This is not a proposal to do all of these things in one day. But there simple 10 minute activities that added into the day can make our day more pleasurable. In the beauty of several of these tips is that they overlap. For example connecting with somebody also satisfies the need to get out of our head. We can build a “pick me up” to look forward to in our 10 minute break. We can be creative in our 10 minute break. What things do you do to make your day more pleasurable? Let me know in the comments below.