Ingredients For Pleasure: Unlocking Joy By Giving More To Your Mind, Body And Heart

“The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness.” – Abraham Hicks. What if adding more pleasure to your life could help you live longer, look younger, lose weight and improve your sex life? Would you consider adding more pleasure to your daily routine?

All these benefits and more are available if we only begin to take our pleasure more seriously. According to the research, pleasure produces chemicals in the body (such as nitric oxide, serotonin, and beta-endorphin) that can improve everything from physical appearance to life expectancy, while stress hormones (such as cortisol and epinephrine) are linked with just about every disease you can think of. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Goddesses Never Age says, “The best-kept health secret on the planet is (this): Pleasure is an essential nutrient that you need, each and every day, to become and remain healthy.”

To be clear, when I speak of pleasure, I am not talking about numbing or addictive behaviors intended to avoid or suppress our real feelings. Feelings need to be felt. I am talking about all things great and small that add joy and goodness to our lives. If we want to increase our ability to heal, thrive and experience a joyful passion for life, we must begin increasing our ability to enjoy our own authentic pleasure.

More Pleasure Please!

We all have a pleasure threshold — an amount of good that we can tolerate and enjoy before something kicks in and we start feeling uncomfortable. As soon as things get “too good”, we often (knowingly or unknowingly) experience something unpleasant to help us stay put at our level set point of good. This phenomenon usually occurs without our awareness; we get a bonus, we get a speeding ticket; our lover surprises us with dinner, and we get mad at him/her for not taking out the garbage. Once we start to become aware of how this works, it can be quite amazing. Everyone’s threshold for bliss is different and we all have one. The good news is we can increase our ability to experience pleasure and joy simply by practicing. There is no limit to the ways in which we can experience pleasure. Here are three areas to ignite your pleasure practice.


Pleasure Your Mind

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, “Every thought you think creates a specific biochemical reaction in your body…Your power to live a pleasurable, prosperous life lies in your willingness to focus your attention on thoughts, people, places and events that are joyful, fun, sexy and uplifting.” Our thoughts affect every aspect of our lives; therefore we need to become better thought-choosers. It is always within our power to choose a better thought. For example; it can be as simple as shifting from “I hate that” to “I don’t like that” or from “he’s a jerk” to “I’d like him to try harder”.For every negative thought, make up at least two thoughts that feel better. You don’t have to be Pollyanna, you simply have to lean into a slightly happier, better feeling thought. Choose thoughts that bring you a sense of well-being. Listen to the music you love, audiobooks and talks that inspire you or sing out loud in the car! It’s a practice, the benefits of which will lower your blood pressure and bring you joy.


Pleasure Your Body

Yes, exercise. Yes, eat delicious healthy foods, and remember to have lots of sex. The many benefits of healthy sex would be mystifying if there weren’t hundreds of research studies documenting the ways that moment of pleasure enhances everything from our biology to our psychology and everything in between. Move your body in ways that delight you, hold hands with the ones you love, hug your friends, cuddle your pet and walk barefoot in the grass. Savor the moments that feel good. We all have an intuitive sense of what will bring us pleasure. Let’s start by listening to ourselves more often and granting our own wishes from the simple to the extravagant.


Pleasure Your Heart

Forgiveness and gratitude are practices that heal the heart and make it happy. Volunteering, acts of service, laughing and spending time with family and friends who are uplifting and supportive are excellent items to put on the menu. You can trust your desires to connect you with the people, places, and things that are fun and inspire open-hearted, light-hearted, soulful connections and joy. Your pleasure matters. Your happiness and pleasure are not selfish – they are necessary gifts to the planet we share. We influence each other whether we want to or not. We can influence our generosity, kindness, and joy or we can influence our struggles and pain. If you want to live longer, look younger, be happier, have more fun and make a difference in the world like I do, remember this: When we are authentically happy and experiencing pleasure, we light the path and give permission for the people around us to do the same.


Rachel Madorsky, LCSW
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Rachel Madorsky, LCSW is a psychotherapist and relationship expert. With over 18 years of experience in the field, her love for her work and the Austin community keeps growing with each client she serves. Rachel’s therapy practice focuses on empowering individuals and couples to have more love, more joy, and more peace in their relationships and in their lives.

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