It sounds too simple and obvious doesn’t it? Yet you’d be surprised how often we allow too many other facets of our lives get in the way of savouring pleasure.
Savour the Pleasure
You’ve all heard the expressions ‘stop and smell the roses’ and ‘appreciate the little things’ but have you really considered just how important these actions are to happiness?
It seems that the happiest people are those who have learnt how to relish every pleasurable moment in their day, big or small.
We are all well practiced at priming ourselves for certain occasions such as a party or Christmas. Yet a lot of the smaller everyday pleasures seem to slip right past us. The only time we seem to be more attuned to them is when they are taken from us, such as when we have an accident or fall ill.
The key to happiness is learning to savour every pleasure as it happens. By consciously appreciating each delight in the here and now, we increase our level of happiness.
So what steps can we take to recognise and better appreciate all the good things in our daily lives?
There are so many reasons to celebrate life beyond the obvious major ones. Allow yourself to feel happy about all of your achievements. Reward yourself for completing a project and share your accomplishments with your loved ones.
Share the Moment
Share the Moment
Inviting someone else to share daily pleasures with you, whether a delicious afternoon tea, a scenic walk on a sunny day or a funny movie. Sharing it with someone you care about can enhance the experience for you both.
One Thing at a Time
Multitasking may be efficient but it is actually a major hindrance to savouring pleasure. In our technologically driven society we are all guilty of doing too many things at once; checking your email and replying to texts while watching a movie for instance. No matter how hard you try you can’t give your full attention to the movie and so you can’t enjoy the experience fully.
If you are on a scenic walk you can’t appreciate your surroundings if you are texting your friends or mentally planning your work schedule.
Photographers are often guilty of missing the moment when they are too engrossed in capturing the view from behind the camera. For this reason I often try to take the time to step back and take in the location with all of my senses.
There are exceptions to this rule of course. Some joint activities complement each other such as listening to music while you paint, or having a nice chat with friends over afternoon tea. Just try not to overload your senses with too much input so that you diminish the pleasurable outcomes.
One Thing at a Time
Avoid Overdosing on Pleasure
Nothing ruins the pleasure of a chocolate fix more than overindulging and getting a stomach ache. Our brains are wired to respond to novel experiences. Too much of a good thing can strip an activity of its power to produce pleasure.
It turns out that people who have plenty of time to do the things they enjoy are generally happier than people who have plenty of money. With this in mind, try to eliminate as many of the non essential activities in your day. (Do you really need to check Facebook twenty times?) This will leave you with more time to enjoy the really pleasurable activities without having to rush.
Savouring the pleasure doesn’t only have to be about the here and now. Planning your next big trip and daydreaming about the places you will see, or reminiscing about special times over old photos or souvenirs can be very satisfying too.
It’s important to understand the difference between appreciating the positive aspects that already exist in your life, and constantly searching for ways to increase your pleasure. Always looking for something bigger and better is a guaranteed road to discontentment. Think about how unhappy so many celebrities seem to be despite all of their fame and fortune.
Now you know how to savour your pleasure you can start to experience happiness more often, every single day.
Fabulous article Jo... and so know what you mean about multi-tasking. I think it is such a problem these days and I know it's an issue in my own life. All Eastern traditions teach the practise of mindfulness... giving yourself fully to one thing at a time. And as usual, amazing pictures.