Pleasure really doesn’t cost a lot.
Savouring the basic pleasures and not taking everything that we do for granted as “what we deserve to get because we work hard”, can work wonders to help our pleasure quotient.
Our brain tends to be extremely sensitive to relative differences
When I eat out with friends, I feel rich, in that I have friends to spend a good meal with, and I can afford it without going into debt (which is why I don’t do it often).
In other words, if you gave someone $1000, they’d be over the moon.
But if you give them another $50 above the $1000, they won’t be as excited.
However, if you do the reverse and give them $50.. and then up it to $1000, it will show a LOT more activity in the reward centers of the brain.
So in my above example, if I ate out all the time to try and maximize my happiness, my brain would adapt to it being a taken-for-granted pleasure, and eating out would cease to become pleasurable or fun.
It is relative to what you already do
When I spread slather good, great-smelling moisturizer on my face after it’s been washed, it feels luxurious and decadent.
However, if I went to a spa every month, where I got a facial, a massage and whatever else comes with a spa visit, a mere spreading on of my facial moisturizer would not be as pleasurable for me.
My brain would think: Meh. You go to a spa monthly, this is peanuts.
Don’t get used to the pleasures. Really revel in them, and enjoy them… or go on a little fast, to make you appreciate them more.
Paying attention to little pleasures can help in many ways
The most banal of acts: getting hugged, drinking a great cup of tea, or logging onto your blog to approve comments (is that just me?), can be continuous pleasures if we pay attention to them.
Temporary bursts of positive, feel-goodness, like basking in a little sun, or loving that it’s a sunny day, can make us feel more creative, confident and more optimistic.
Not only that, it might even boost your immune system, and in a chain reaction, make you friendlier to others, which results in others catching your good spirits & reciprocating in like, and in return, makes you feel better.. and so on.
My way to really lift my spirits is to put on some really catch, happy music like Black Eyed Peas, and sing out loud either at home or in the car, it doesn’t matter.