Next time you buy a coffee, a salad, a frozen yogurt—can the very activity itself trigger you into the present?
By Grace Cherian
Late last year a writer friend of mine bought a $6 latte from a hipster hangout, where he went to feel cool and write. When he went to take a sip after finishing a satisfying sentence, he was surprised to learn that he had already finished his latte.
His fancy $6 coffee was gone. And he didn’t even remember tasting it.
In that moment—while on yet another deadline—it struck him that he had been busy for so long that when he’s doing things (including fun things!), he’s not sure he’s actually enjoying it. He’s not in the moment somehow.
It gave him a niggling sense that he isn’t having the full experience of his life while he’s living it. The tragedy wasn’t the evaporated, expensive drink. It was life passing him by while he’s in his head and out of his body somehow. I think many of us are like him.
My friend decided he needed something simple and easy to jolt him into the present, while, like everybody else, he’s just trying to make it through the week. It’s one 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 frozen yogurt—can the very activity itself trigger you into the present? 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 pleasurable experience?
2. Set reminders.
This might be annoying to some people, but my friend now sets an alarm at random times of the day which pops up when he least expects it with his one word: PLEASURE. A few days ago he was walking in the rain, and it popped up. He inhaled deeply, looked around, and noticed how much cleaner the city feels after a rainfall. He 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, he was with his friends at an outdoor bar. He was on his phone (like most people). Then PLEASURE popped up. He looked up and truly saw his friends’ faces. One of them was laughing. In that moment, it was like I was seeing life in high-definition. He put his phone down and dived into the guacamole and conversation.
3. Tune into your senses.
Many of us spend a fair amount of money 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 pajamas, or just fall into bed in a daze? Once you consider it—what’s better than your cozy, inviting bed at the end of the day?
• Taste your pasta or shovel it in while catching up on the movie you’re watching? No wonder it’s so easy to overeat!
• Enjoy the scent and texture of applying your hand cream or whack a blob on your palm and toss the tube in your bag? Most hand creams smell divine. We just never sniff them outside of the store we purchase them from after the first day.
• Coming back to one word—pleasure—kicks a mundane day into living color. Whether you’re taking a shower, preparing your breakfast, petting your dog, calling your sister, or even sitting on the subway, listening to the hum of the carriage, remember “pleasure, pleasure, pleasure,” and it all feels a little more delicious somehow.
How can you experience more pleasure in your life?