Pleasure As A Remedy
A while ago, I wrote about pleasure and how important it is. It is so important that I wanted to share here too.
Pleasure is utterly necessary and in no way a luxury.
When someone comes to my office, seeking help because the suffering, the sadness and loneliness, or the seeming need to hide away– the stuff that constitutes depression– is too overwhelming, I sometimes notice that this person also has forgotten about pleasure. Forgotten that pleasure exists. Forgotten what it looks like, what it feels like, how to find it, and especially, how to create it. Utterly forgotten.
What is pleasure anyway, and what does it have to do with suffering?
Merriam and Webster call pleasure a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction; a pleasant or pleasing feeling, or an activity done for enjoyment. This definition is so small, it makes me want for more. I like to think that pleasure is a delight to the senses– like breathing in wafts of ginger and curry sizzling after a long, tiring day. Or maybe it would be more surprising, like a sudden tickle, a soothing touch, or an unexpected breeze on hot, sweaty skin. I like to think that pleasure can also be a feeling that stems from other positive feelings, like hope and love.
Pleasure Counters Feelings of Depression
If pleasure is a feeling of happiness, then it would be in opposition to feelings of depression. While these might be felt together, it would be quite difficult to hold pleasure and sadness or worry at exactly the same moment.
If pleasure is enjoyment or satisfaction, it would be a feeling that has the potential to help open awareness; to let things in. Other feelings do this too, like feelings of acceptance, contentment, and peace. These each help a body let go, relax and simply be.
Pleasure provides a break from the daily grind. It is literally a physiological relief from the symptoms related to depression, stress and anxiety. While experiencing pleasure, muscles relax, breathing deepens, and tension dissolves. Hormones that bring on rejuvenation and energy are released. Good feelings arise. That is pleasure.
Now is the time to let pleasure in. Now, I remind myself to look for, and find moments of pleasure in even the smallest of things. It’s time to thrive.