Pleasure vs. Joy

Image may contain: ocean, text, water and outdoorThis was a weekend to celebrate for so many. Graduation, Mother’s Day. Saturday. 

I completely overdid this weekend. Of the Seven Deadly Sins, I think I hit about three of them. In three days. Too much food. Too much drink. Too much Law and Order.

It was actually a great weekend. Friends came to visit. We spent time at the beach. Saw a fantastic show. All of those elements combined to reinforce the joy that is such an amazing part of my life.

The other stuff? It brought momentary pleasure but didn’t further my joy. In fact, it made me feel tired, cranky and a little on the logy side.

It’s ironic. During my commute, I listen to podcasts. I’m currently fixated on Oprah’s Soul Conversations. Experts from all walks of life who share their knowledge to help listeners tap into what is already inside of them, helping them to achieve their goals.

One I listened to last week was a speech by Shawn Achor. Achor is an expert in the study of the science of happiness. And yes, there’s a lot of science that backs up his theories. I read his book, The Happiness Advantage and it started me on this journey with Happy Fix. That’s probably why I’m always trying to call him Shawn “Anchor.” That’s what his book did for me.

The irony comes in because one of the things I took from his talk was that some things bring you pleasure and some things help you create long-lasting joy.

Pleasure is temporary. Joy is a state you get to live in. Huge difference.

The half pizza I ate on Sunday? Pure, unadulterated pleasure. Five hours of Law and Order in a row? Absolute pleasure? But joy? Nah.

Connecting with friends over the weekend? Joy. Sitting by the beach, in the moment and totally present? Joy too. Enriching my life watching amazing performers in a musical and spending two straight hours laughing my hiney off? You got it. Joy.

I was struck by how easy the equation is. If it brings you joy, do it. If it will only bring pleasure in the moment, at least give it a little bit of thought. There’s room for both but don’t mix them up. Go ahead. Ask the question. “Will it bring me joy or pleasure?” Then make a decision.

This weekend, I feel like I was moving through pleasure toward hedonism. It was actually a good thing. I felt so rotten, I decided I need to make some changes that enhance the joy I feel. Exercise, nutrition, focus on things for the long term, connection with friends. All of these things help me work toward joy. And while pleasure has its place, there needs to be balance.

I love Mondays. They always feel like a new beginning to me. And new beginnings toward goals are pretty exhilarating. I hope you have an enriching week planned for yourself full of joyful activities that help you attain the life you want. Know that we will be on the journey together. #HappyFix #SelfCare.