The one word that can in­stantly change your mood

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - SUSIE MOORE

Late last year I bought a $6 latte from a hip­ster hang­out, where I went to feel cool and write. When I went to take a sip af­ter fin­ish­ing a sat­is­fy­ing sen­tence, I was sur­prised to dis­cover that I’d al­ready fin­ished it. My fancy $6 cof­fee was gone. And I didn’t even re­mem­ber tast­ing it.

In that mo­ment — while on yet an­other dead­line — it struck me that I’ve been busy for so long that when I’m do­ing stuff (in­clud­ing fun stuff!), I’m not sure I’m ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing it. I’m not “in it” some­how.

It gave me a nig­gling feel­ing that I’m not hav­ing the full ex­pe­ri­ence of my life as I’m liv­ing it. The tragedy wasn’t the evap­o­rated, ex­pen­sive drink. It was life pass­ing me by while I’m in my head and out of my body some­how. And I know I’m not alone.

I de­cided I needed some­thing sim­ple and easy to jolt me into the present, while, like ev­ery­body else, I’m just try­ing to make it through the week. It was a word: plea­sure.

How much plea­sure do you al­low your­self to ex­pe­ri­ence? Here are three sim­ple ways to dial it up:

1. Have a trig­ger

Next time you buy a cof­fee, a salad, a fro-yo — can the very ac­tiv­ity it­self trig­ger you into pres­ence? Can the very rit­ual of it re­mind you to pause, just for a sec­ond, con­sider the word plea­sure, and dig in mind­fully to ac­tu­ally en­joy the dang thing? 2. Set re­minders This might be an­noy­ing to some peo­ple, but I have an alarm that I set at ran­dom times of day that pops up when I least ex­pect it with my one word: PLEA­SURE. Yes­ter­day I was walk­ing in the rain, and it popped up. I took a deep in­hale, looked around, and no­ticed how much cleaner the city feels af­ter a rain­fall. I also re­mem­bered how pleas­ant the smell of rain can be, if you take a proper whiff. Even run­ning an er­rand in a shower can spark plea­sure if you al­low it!

An­other time, I was with my friends at an out­door bar. I was on my phone (like most peo­ple). Then PLEA­SURE popped up. I looked up and truly saw my friends’ faces. One of them was laugh­ing. In that mo­ment, it was like I was see­ing life in high-def. I put my phone down and dove into the gua­camole and con­ver­sa­tion. 3. Tune into your senses Many of us spend a good chunk o’ change on our fur­ni­ture, threads, and ac­ces­sories. When was the last time you re­ally felt them? For ex­am­ple, do you: Feel the lux­u­ri­ous thread count of your sheets and cot­ton py­ja­mas, or just fall into bed in a daze? Once you con­sider it — what’s bet­ter than your cosy, invit­ing bed at the end of the day?

Savour the soft­ness of your scarf as it wraps around you and com­pletes your look, or grab it while hol­ler­ing, “Hold the el­e­va­tor!”?

Taste your pasta and sau­vi­gnon blanc, or shovel it in while catch­ing up on “The Hand­maid’s Tale”? No won­der it’s so easy to overeat!

Ac­tu­ally ab­sorb the vibes em­a­nat­ing from your Spo­tify shuf­fle or skip, skip, skip un­til you land on a sat­is­fac­tory song? Then skip, skip, skip again? Are you ac­tu­ally lis­ten­ing? Chill out and let the playlist sur­prise you!

Com­ing back to one word — plea­sure — kicks a mun­dane day into liv­ing colour. Whether I’m sub­mit­ting my col­umn, pre­par­ing my break­fast, pet­ting my dog, call­ing my sis­ter or even sit­ting on the sub­way, lis­ten­ing to the hum of the car­riage, I re­mem­ber “plea­sure, plea­sure, plea­sure,” and it all feels a lit­tle more de­li­cious some­how.

How can you ex­pe­ri­ence more plea­sure in your life?

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