A goddess leads a life of Pleasure, Passion and Purpose. The previous article highlighted the need for purpose in a divalicious life, pleasure is equally vital. I like how Dr Christine Northrup, author and expert on women’s health issues, conveys this fact; “pleasure is an essential nutrient that you need, each and every day, to become and remain healthy”. Read that sentence again, slowly; an essential nutrient. Not a luxury, a reward, nor a treat for special occasions. A daily dose of Vitamin P is a must.
Why is bliss necessary for your welfare? One of the reasons is Nitric Oxide, a chemical released by the walls of your blood vessels which assists the immune system fight off bacteria, regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, increase endurance and strength, improve wound healing, and prevent blood clots. Nitric Oxide is, evidently, significant in maintaining a healthy body, but what does it have to do with enjoying yourself? Pleasurable pursuits cause the body to release Nitric Oxide. So the more you feel good emotionally, the better you’ll feel physically. High levels of Nitric Oxide also lead to increased levels of other feel-good chemicals such as Serotonin, Dopamine and Beta-endorphins, making pleasure good for your emotional health as well.
Your joy is also good for your friends. Recent research conducted by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis shows that happiness spreads far and wide through a social network. The study looked at the happiness of nearly 5000 people over a period of 20 years, and found that one person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends’ friends and their friends’ friends’ friends.
At the danger of sounding like a Verimark ad…wait there is more! Delight makes you light, too! Dr Joe Vitale, of The Secret fame, says that a happy emotional state is the key to weight loss and physical fitness. Besides the fact that when you are full on pleasure you are unlikely to crave comfort foods, Dr Vitale claims that happy people burn more calories than depressed or angry people. He personally lost over 30kgs by focusing his attention, thoughts and actions on things that brought him joy.
I’ve gone to great lengths to make a case for pleasure. This is because our society venerates pain and suffering. We have mantras like “No pain, No gain” and wear our aches, misfortunes and stress like badges. We are taught that pleasure is frivolous, risky and unproductive, making its pursuit a guilt-laden activity, especially for women. As women, we are socialized to focus on meeting the needs of others, and often discouraged from fulfilling our own needs. Studies by The National Institute of Mental Health, in America, found that depression affects twice as many women as men. This 2:1 ratio applies regardless of economic status, race or ethnicity. The same ratio has apparently been reported in 10 other countries. Coincidence? I think not.
Can you allocate a daily minimum of 3 minutes for your personal delight? Three minutes, is very short, in fact it’s the average duration of a song. Maybe, for starters, you could dance to a favourite tune each morning, like nobody is watching.
- Dancing to MTV with my daughter Sparkle
- Doing silly childish things like jumping into puddles or swinging Gardening
- Long bubble baths with Sparkle
- Going to a spa for a massage and pedicure
- Visiting the iusedtobelieve.com website. It cracks me up everytime
What’s on your list?