How Often Do You Delay Simple Pleasure in Life?

It always amuses me how excited my dogs get when I open up the cupboard, where their leads are kept. They start jumping around and getting so excited that they are going for a walk. And even more, once I put the leads on, they cut laps of the lounge room and can’t wait to get out of the front door. Despite the fact that they have walked the same path hundreds of times, they get so much pleasure from every single walk. It’s like they have never seen that tree, the letterbox, or the blade of grass before. So, they sniff, look and explore like it is a totally new experience.

This excitement got me thinking this morning about how often we are so caught up in our lives that we don’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life. My cute little puppies (yeah biased I know) have developed a really powerful association between the cupboard and being excited. They know this is where the leads area kept and when I go to this cupboard, their anticipation is contagious. Sure, as humans, we are bit more complex than dogs, but my puppies aren’t getting caught thinking, “oh it’s too cold out” or ‘I’m a bit too tired for a walk today.” No, not at all. They are totally focused on this very simple pleasure of walkies.

How Simple Pleasure Improves Level of Life Satisfaction?

How often do you find yourself delaying simple pleasure as you are too busy? Nobody ever said on their death bed “I wished I spent more time at work.” And yet, we often delay things we enjoy doing in order to finish off all our responsibilities. Positive Psychology research indicates that completing just one small task EVERY day that provides a sense of enjoyment can create an improvement in your overall level of life satisfaction. Make a commitment to engage in at least one activity that gives you simple pleasure for the next 7 days . This could be as simple as having a bath, reading a book for 20 minutes, going out for dinner with a friends, taking the kids to the park or watching that movie you have been too busy to see. Notice how you feel after the end of the 7 days. Chances are, you will feel a greater sense of happiness and also be more productive, as when we take time out to relax, we become more productive.

How often do we drink our coffee on the run, plan our day whilst having a shower, write a shopping list in our head while we are driving, focus on what we are going to do when we get home whilst exercising? In the busyness of our life, not only do we delay pleasurable activities, we often use habitual activities to multitask. This means we miss out the unique opportunity of that experience. Even though my dogs have walked past that tree many times, today it is different. Every blade of grass has grown just a fraction since yesterday, each tree is just a little taller, the plants just a little bigger, each drop of dew in a different place, not to mention all the new smells since yesterday. When was the last time you actually paid full attention when you were walking down the street or driveway? Did you notice the things around you or were you too focused on where you were going?

Viewing every experience you have with a sense of open curiosity can bring a totally new depth of experience to your life. So next time you have a shower, notice your thoughts and then refocus your attention. Feel the water, observe the smells of the soap and shampoo, notice what you can hear, and observe the difference when you place your head under the water. Having a shower can be one of those simple pleasures in life- if only we are ‘present’ when we are having a shower. Really feel the sensations of the water as it streams down your body or what it really feels like to wash your hair. Notice what an amazing experience it can be. This doesn’t take any extra time, just extra focus. So take some advice from my dogs. Stop and smell the grass. Start enjoying every simple pleasure in life! 🙂

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Emma Boucher

Emma Boucher, an experienced Psychologist and Naturopath, helps busy and stressed adults who go through difficult work environments, relationships and emotional challenges. She achieves fast results with a very methodical approach, and also by being a great listener and educator about the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and preventative health.

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