Taking Care of YOURSELF: The Importance of Indulging and Happinessby Dr. Nancy on January 2nd, 2012 in Health
Happiness is a state of well-being, characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy; a state that is influenced by a variety of factors, ranging from a person’s relationships to her personal goal attainments, to the interpretations of her life conditions.
Pleasure, on the other hand, is the state or feeling of being pleased, amused, or gratified from a source of enjoyment or delight: a purely instinctive reaction with a brief life span: 30 seconds to an hour or two. And while happiness can be interpretive and selectively elusive, sources of pleasure are fairly easy to come by. The following is a list of simple ways to put the bliss and indulgence back into your every week, no matter who you are!
1. Listen Once Again. And Again.
Music is not only deeply personal to each person; it inspires and evokes emotion in a healthy way. It touches our emotional being and evokes moods and feelings that are sometimes difficult to express. It can change a difficult mood and make it happy or excited; it can change a light mood and take it deeper and more profound. It is spiritual, simple to access and sparks imagination.
Revisit your favorite songs, your favorite singers, your favorite album. Put those songs on repeat and listen to them over and over again. Lose yourself in the melody that depicts milestones or simple times in your life. Relax, close your eyes and let the music take you away for a few songs.
2. Try Out New Eats
Being flexible and adventurous in what you eat is not only a mark of maturity and adaptability; it will set you up for better appreciation of culinary diversity. Embrace every opportunity that presents itself when it comes to trying new foods and have your taste buds introduced to as much as you can! Not only to food, but indulge your curious side and say yes hanging out with new acquaintances, say yes more often to social gatherings, indulge in spontaneous conversations and outings, even with people you don’t know, to places you’ve never been and to trying things you’ve been told are boring or dangerous. Indulge in a great sense of adventure!
3. Keep Something Sentimental in Your Desk at Work
Place something emotionally resonant in your purse, wallet, car or on your desk at work and look at it when your mood needs a quick lift. Place objects that connect you with memories or treasured experiences—maybe a vacation to Spain or your wedding—and occasionally take a moment to pick up one of these items and look at it closely. Indulge in a moment to remember what made that moment so amazing and elation is sure to follow.
4. Read (or Watch or Participate in) Something That Takes Your Breath Away
A recent study found that people seek out newspaper articles that inspire awe—that hard-to-define feeling we get when we’re exposed to great beauty, power, or accomplishment. This pleasurable tickle is uniquely human and can be achieved in multiple ways: praying, watching nature programs, and reading stories of personal triumph, to name a few. Whatever gives you that lump-in-your-throat feeling, pursue it any way you can. And yes, watching your favorite Ryan Gosling romantic movie does count.
5. Look Outside. . . Better Yet, GO Outside!
Humans have spent almost all of their existence on the African savanna, surrounded by trees, water, and sky. The world in which most of us spend our time nowadays is unnatural and can corrode the spirit. Even a small dose of nature elevates our mood. But accept no substitutes! Psychologist Peter Kahn Jr. put 50-inch high-definition TVs into windowless offices of faculty and staff members at the University of Washington in Seattle, and streamed in a live view of a natural scene. It turned out that these HDTVs did nothing for the participants’ physiological stress response. What did work? A window with a view of real greenery.
Take a walk outside every day. Take your shoes off and walk in the sand, grass or dirt to truly ground yourself. Take in the fresh air and feel the sun on your face. Simply by walking around outdoors, your eyes have a chance to both focus on the ground in front of you and the landscape around you, which is great exercise for TV and monitor over-stimulated eyes. This is one of the simplest ways to indulge your spirit and senses by recharging the body and mind.
6. Pet a Dog or Favorite Animal
Physical contact with animals works wonders. It increases the brain chemicals associated with pleasure and decreases those associated with stress. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties. Even people without pets can get some of the effect by hanging out for a few minutes at your local rescue shelter or pet store.
Giving is a metaphysical act that literally makes you a magnet for whatever you give, be it money, love, time, peace, or joy. Think “Laws of Attraction”- we will attract to us what we give to others. The more you cling to wealth (just like fame or love), the more it will elude you and the less satisfied you’ll be with your lot. So if you want to be wealthy, spread the wealth. Humans are altruistic by nature: If we act generously, we will feel joyful. Volunteer at a beach clean-up, at a local homeless shelter, at a local non-profit agency that supports cancer awareness. Go to the website of a favorite charity and make a donation. It doesn’t have to be a lot—just enough to get a small burst of pride and humbleness in your heart.
8. Soak In a Bath
Bathing is wonderfully sensual and can bring you the restful solitude you need to reflect and relax. In addition to the lovely flush you’ll get from all that steam and warmth, your skin will soften and become smoother. Tight muscles will loosen and relax, soothing most aches and pains. Bathing in natural bath salt will enhance your night’s sleep, lower blood pressure and help you distress from the day. It can even reduce the look of fine lines and other signs of aging, leaving you feeling and looking years younger.
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