February is the month of love. We almost always associate love with giving our hearts and our good intentions to someone we care for. However, when that energy is directed inward and we allow ourselves to experience what feels good for us, we are filling our own buckets. It is a true act of self-love. When I think of words that define ways to love ourselves more, pleasure is one that we tend to ignore.
The word pleasure is defined as a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.
Pleasure is something that we can find by having awareness around the little things that please us. When we know what makes us feel that happy satisfaction and enjoyment and make a point of purposefully seeking it, we can bring more contentment and joy into our lives.
Our senses are extremely powerful and directly connected to these feelings of pleasure. When our senses are engaged in a healthy and positive way, our brains literally release happiness hormones like serotonin and dopamine; love chemicals like oxytocin; and all sorts of feel goods that enhance our mood!
The olfactory sense is a powerful one, so feed it. Are there natural or familiar fragrances that you enjoy? Diffusing or simply inhaling essential oils is a wonderful way to elevate your mood. When you smell something that pleases you, it goes straight to your brain and amplifies your happy.
It is amazing how much impact our auditory sense and what we listen to actually has on us. Music is one potent way to connect to your ultimate contentment in the moment. You can choose certain sounds, or types of music that make you feel joyful, playful, more energized, sensual or even peaceful. Play it and love it.
What we see in our surroundings is a huge contributor to our personal pleasure. Are there particular colors that make you smile? Are there outfits that when you put them on, you like how you look? Then wear them! Decorate your home in a way that is visually appealing, in a way that brings a sense of gratification.
What pleases your body? Are there specific acts of touch, or intimate connection that you enjoy whether that is with your partner or with yourself? When we allow healthy touch into our lives, even something as simple as a hug can have an incredibly positive effect on our psyche. What about textures or fabrics that light you up whether it is soft and fuzzy, silky or smooth? If they feel good next to your skin, cuddle up in them.
The senses are remarkable in the way that they not only have the ability to stimulate feelings of pleasure in the moment but they also can trigger feelings of satisfaction and contentment that are a remembering, a connection to something we have experienced in our childhood.
Pleasing our palate definitely has the ability to tap into this deep-rooted satisfaction. I know that from a health-conscious perspective, this can be a slippery slope. I have always been a fan of the 80/20 rule or heck, even the 70/30 rule, which means, finding regular ways to incorporate as many delicious and gratifying whole foods into your diet is best. However, really indulging those taste buds every once in a while, and not feeling an ounce of guilt about it, is not only extremely satisfying but is a very pleasurable way to live.
In addition, what about the emotional realm? Are there people in your life that when you are around them, they lift you up? Are there certain movements or dance that make you smile? Are there acts of self-care that leave you feeling fulfilled? Do you have intentions or desires or goals that once accomplished, they bring you joy?
I challenge each of you to think about what brings you pleasure in every aspect of your life. If you do not like the word pleasure; switch it to joy, switch it to contentment or satisfaction, or don’t. Continue to say the word over and over and over again until you can own it. You deserve it. This is truly an act of self-love and ultimately, we can all use more love in our lives!
Jennifer Roe is a master level Red Hat Qigong practitioner, an integrative nutritional health and wellness coach, a facilitator of women’s circles, programs and more. For more information, visit www.thehealingroe.com.