In these hard times of social distance, multiple economic and cultural stresses amidst a pandemic illness, many of us are experiencing the pain of enduring cumulative stress and finding ourselves at breaking point more often than ever. We forget how to enjoy ourselves when we are burdened with stress and facing our losses. I write this not to negate your pain, but to encourage you to find small and larger ways to bring more pleasure to your everyday, to support your balance of health and to share with others too when you are able.
Doses of pleasure, if taken in the right way for you, can deeply support your body and mind to be resilient and to release stress in healthy ways. The biochemicals of pleasure will be felt instantly and activate relaxation, which supports the healing and cleansing processes in your body and mind. It can be as simple as spending a moment feeling texture, savouring a taste, absorbing a comforting or enlivening temperature, infusing yourself with a delicious smell, being moved in a moment of humour or heart-full connection that gets you to laugh or even just smile… it can be remembering a moment when you last felt deeply pleased by something happening for or to you.
We are each pleased by different things as we are uniquely sensitive and particular in our senses. I cannot prescribe pleasure, but I can encourage you to find more of what already works for you, before branching out and finding more ways to enjoy your senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, sound and movement!
Sensory pleasures are powerful remedies for stress because they encourage you to take time with your body and take notice of how you are feeling. Body and mind are intertwined: even when we feel stuck in pain or stress, if a moment of pleasure arrives, the impact on your nervous system and your mood can be just as powerful as anything that feels stressful or painful. Think of a time when a pleasant or joyful surprise, however small, interrupted your stressful day and brought a smile or a lightness to your heart. Indeed, pleasure can reverse the dis-ease from stress and can create healing for your body.
Imagine, when you are able to find pleasure, how does your body respond? Maybe you breathe a little deeper, your muscles tend to relax and you may feel a moment of being cared for, recognised and met in relationship to your environment. Perhaps feelings of recognition, familiarity, kindness, belonging come to you? Is there a joyfulness in there too?!
These feelings of care and joyfulness that accompany pleasure can be a strong antidote to any of the stresses and pains that build up over a day of life in these times. Importantly, in these times of social isolation, we need to give pleasure to ourselves and each other a little more regularly. When we please ourselves, the effect can be shared in connection with others and for moments or longer, we can breathe more deeply, think and feel more spacious and feel grateful for what we have got. Gratitude opens up a source of love, compassion and empathy that is so needed in these times.
I’m really aware that not all of us can take this invitation to conjure up pleasure so easily. There are many valid reasons why, including long-term depression or dissociation from your body. If this is so, then perhaps life has been deeply painful for your for a long time underneath what has been unfolding in our world. If so, I encourage you to reach out for help to ease some of the burden and open a space within you for pleasure to come in. Contact me to book a free 20 minute consultation and enquire if I can support you with therapy or embodied enquiry to learn more about the nature of your experience and how to find pleasure again for your body and mind.