I’m currently reading Anthony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within. I’m reading it once through and plan on coming back to some of the exercises on a second reading. This one struck me as interesting. Tony writes about how we can change our internal states at will. We all have tools and techniques to make us feel pleasure and happiness. The art and skill is having a multitude of healthy techniques (no addictive or numbing substances) in our toolbox. What follows is the first twenty five activities that come to mind of things that I can do that instantly make me feel pleasure and happiness.
- Walking outdoors
- Reading in bed
- Going to a café alone for tea and a scone
- Dancing wildly about the house
- Putting Ani Difranco on shuffle and singing along
- Having a long hug
- Sitting in silence and daydreaming
- Lying on the floor in semi-supine and relaxing
- Drinking a glass of water
- Doing the beginner Intu-flow movements
- Having a swim
- Chatting on Facebook with a friend
- Phoning a family member
- Buying a new book
- Kissing my partner
- Having a nap
- Taking a shower
- Lighting candles
- Meeting a friend for a coffee and a chat
- Holding a ritual with friends
- Writing in my journal app
- Writing a letter or email to a friend
- Sharing silence with a friend/the world
These are the first things I could think of. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t thought of. I know these things vary over time. If you were to ask me ten years ago what I did for pleasures would have included pints and cigarettes. I’m noticing how much of my list is about slowing down and doing gentle things.
My bad habit, my way to feel pleasure when I have a slump, is eating chocolate and biscuits. I habitually give myself pleasure using sugar. It’s not a healthy thing to do. It’s interesting to be able to understand my behaviour as a way of seeking pleasure, of changing my internal state. Knowing this, and with most of the book still to go, I wonder how many of my behaviours I’ll be changing for the better.
I’m noticing in myself that I’m still coming up with more activities to add to the list like photographing beautiful things, visiting new places, writing, spending time with my family,and so on. The list will grow.
Tony talks about how useful it is to fill our days with things that fill us with pleasure and to be able to do it consciously. A day filled with just some of the above would be a very good day.