Finding Pleasure

So often we end up beating ourselves up all day, so at the end of the day, we’re pleasure-deprived. 

It sounds like, “I had such a hard day so I’m having some wine.” While this seems so innocent, it ends up reinforcing escaping our lives through false pleasures that have a net negative consequence. 

Instead, I invite you to try something different: finding natural pleasures throughout your day. 

In this episode, you’ll learn what “natural pleasures” are and how to find pleasure every day, so you enjoy your everyday life. 

Here are more of my favorite resources to go with this podcast:

Full Finding Pleasure Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Welcome to the podcast my friend, I hope your fall is off to a good start. Mine is off to an amazing start. I love fall. I love, this season really leaning into it. Not just fall, but wedding planning and all the fun that I’ve been experiencing with bachelorette planning and wedding dress shopping and all those things, right? I’m just going all in. In this season, I think we try to rush seasons and I’ve been doing such a better job with leaning into them.

And it feels so much better to do it this way. What else is going on? The creator program is coming out at the end of this month. So if you are in corporate America and you are a female and you want to quit your job and work from home and have control over your time and your work life and your income, you have to get on the list to take this program, make your way over to NatalieBacon.com and the work with me page.

And you’ll see it right there. I have to say that I’m so proud of this program. So you guys know, I talk a lot about Grow You. That is my life coaching program. This will be the parallel program, but for business, it’s a much more high end expensive program. It’s run a little bit differently than Grow You, but it will be my second offer my business offer.

So I closed down my courses, my individual courses that I used to offer. And now I will have just life coaching in Grow You and the Creator Program, which will be business coaching and not just coaching, but an entire path that kind of takes you from knowing nothing about business, to building a business from the ground up the right way. So if you are someone who has a business and you’re not making the kind of money you want to be making, you have to take this.

I say that because I know a lot of you have already emailed us. If you have a question, you can email the [email protected], but just kind of ahead of that email. I want to let you know that if you have a business already and you’re not making six figures, or you’re making six figures and you’re really hustling and stressed about it, like it’s not easy.

Then this program is for you because a lot of times when we are creating businesses, I’m kind of winging it and this will help you do it in a way that’s really clean from the ground up so that you can scale vertically. Instead of having a whole bunch of horizontal offers where you’re making money, but it’s not in a way that’s really scalable. So if you are interested or anyone, you know, is interested, go on over to NatalieBacon.com/interestlist.

That’s one word you can get on the list to get your application for this. I will be opening it only to a number of students at first, just like every program I launch. Initially, I want to just start it with the best, most qualified people so that we get it going off on the right foot. I did the same thing for Grow You and it’s worked out beautifully.

So I am mentioning it kinda at length here, because I know that so many of you are working from home now, and you might feel a little bit cooped up, but you’re also loving it. If you think about the option of going back to work, I do think that there are some elements that you might like, but they do not outweigh what you’re getting at home. Especially right now. I have so many friends with the little ones and babies, and they have really enjoyed this opportunity, particularly even the spouses, often the men who have been able to stay home for a longer period while COVID is keeping us all at home.

So I’ve found this interest, this renewed interest in people wanting to start online businesses. So if that is you, my friend, you must come join me. It’s what most people come to me for. It’s either the life coaching or the business coaching. And now we have the two programs that I will continue to grow my business with. And to help you with life, coaching will be Grow You always and forever and business coaching will be The Creator Program.

All right, you ready to talk about finding pleasure? So in the Self Care Myth episode, I talk a lot about how it’s important to use your thought work and decide what’s in your best interest for your future self when you’re deciding what to do in the moment. So it’s deciding to order the salad and that is self care instead of what would feel good in the moment, which would be to order the French fries and that episode’s really popular.

If you haven’t listened to it, you should go back and listen to it. But in this episode, I want to talk about adding pleasure to your life intentionally, but it’s not the kind of pleasure that you get from the French fries. So let me back up and talk a little bit about the problem that I see.

So typically what I see is that people will seek external false pleasures because they feel entitled to feel good after having a hard day. So let’s say that you work really hard at work and you’re kind of grinding away. You feel stressed to you. It’s a long, hard day, and you’re basically depriving yourself of pleasure all day. So you didn’t feel good at all during the day. What happens is at the end of the day, your brain is dying for pleasure. It’s like seeking pleasure, right? You guys know I talk about this in the motivational triad, where your brain is always trying to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Well, if you interpret work and your days to be very painful at the end of your day, at the end of whatever it is that you were doing, that is painful to you, your brain is going to look for that pleasure. And so often what we do and what we’ve conditioned ourselves to do is to seek the false pleasures of condensed sugar.

It’s not the apples we’re having, it’s the Apple pie or shopping or Netflixing, or, you know, over eating the French fries or having the wine. So we overdo it. And instead of having the natural pleasure that we can find throughout the day, we seek false pleasures to compensate for how bad we feel. So basically you’re hating everything you’re doing during the day. You feel pretty bad, and then you escape it with false pleasures. And what I want to offer to you as a solution above and beyond planning your pleasure.

So I’ve taught you guys that, and I teach that at length Grow You where I say, okay, plan that pleasure plan when you’re going to have wine. And to what extent plan when you’re going to have the cake and to what extent, right? So if you do all that, that’s awesome. You won’t escape. If you plan, when you are going to go on social media, like I’ve done and I continue to work on, right. Or if you plan to take out certain foods or certain false pleasures that are really condensed in our modern society, that’s great.

But what you’re left with is your life. And what I want to offer to you is that while you’re doing that, you can add in some natural pleasures and you can get really good at this, but it’s definitely a skill. So you have to find the natural pleasures and the look for them and really practice feeling pleasure on purpose.

So it’s not only finding it, but it’s practicing the pleasure and noticing it and appreciating it. An all natural pleasure is, is pleasure found naturally like natural foods or physical touch, like sex, or even achieving your goals. So I came up with a list of pleasures that are natural, that I want to offer to you, but it’s really not about the activity itself. It’s about pausing and finding the pleasure. So for example, one of the examples that I listed is dancing.

So for me, hip hop class, which I haven’t been to in forever because of COVID, but normally I take hip hop class and I love it. I find that so pleasurable to me, that is a natural pleasure. You might never want to find hip hop, dance pleasurable. It’s just not your thing. So I’m going to give you this list of examples, and I think it’s really going to spark your imagination and your creative thinking.

So you can kind of see what I’m talking about, but this list is not exhaustive. And it’s really not about the activity. It’s about what you’re making it mean. So one of the examples I have on this list is fresh flowers. I love flowers. I love getting flowers. I love having flowers in the home. I appreciate the flowers. I take really good care of the flowers. I notice the flowers, right?

To me, that’s a little bit of pleasure. You might just not be a flower person and you don’t really want to be right. You could do some thought work and really practice liking flowers, but it might not be your thing. The point is not that you need to find pleasure in this list that I give you, but it is for you to start noticing that you can find pleasure all around you. You can feel pleasure.

You can find natural pleasure throughout the day so that you’re actually enjoying just a regular Tuesday without needing to look for that false pleasure at the end of the day. So here are my other examples. The first one is getting ready in the morning. If you have not listened to the episode, Getting Ready Every Day. That’s another episode that’s so popular. Go listen to it. When you get ready every day, it feels good when you do it from a place of taking care of yourself and respecting your body and respecting your life and saying, I’m going to put nice clothes on my body. I’m going to take a shower. I’m going to enjoy this process, right? There’s so much pleasure in that and to pause and notice it instead of rushing around like a maniac in the morning, just trying to go, go, go, Oh yeah, look at this nice outfit I’m putting on.

I love this. Do you see the difference there so important? And it seems like we wouldn’t have time for that, but you’re using the time to rush around and feeling rushed already. So it’s just bringing it back to the present moment. Now, sometimes you might be doing some personal development in the morning, like listening to this podcast while you’re getting ready.

And that’s fine too, but make sure you take a moment at least to acknowledge yourself, to look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself. Like I look great today. I’m in a great mood and I’m going to have a great day, or if it’s going to be a hard day and you’ve decided that ahead of time, it’s this is going to be a hard day. And I got this. I can do hard things. So it’s bringing some presentness to the day.

It’s bringing it back to right now. So you feel a little bit of pleasure as you’re getting ready. The next example I have is puppies. If you don’t have a puppy, you need to get a puppy. No, I know puppies aren’t for everyone, but I find so much pleasure in petting and walking and playing with Penny. She is such a joy, even though it’s really hard, even though sometimes she still gets up in the middle of the night, like last night, right? I love her.

And I get so much pleasure from my pet from Penny. Another example is babies. The connection with babies is so sweet, even if you’re out and about, and you see other people’s babies, it’s like a moment of pleasure. It’s like, look at that little baby, how cute. Right? And be in that moment and have that connection because you create that connection.

It’s not like the babies, you know, thinking these high level thoughts about being connected to you. The baby’s being a baby that pre-frontal has not developed well yet. Right? So look for connections with the animals and with the humans. The next example I have is reading a book. This is a newer pleasure for me because you guys know, I took that reading course and I’ve really made it a goal of mine to create time where I can sit down and read a hard cover book.

It is not easy. It is not perfect, but I continue to improve on it and create that space. And when I do, I love it. I find so much pleasure in turning the page and pausing and slowing down to me that feels pleasurable, right? It’s like Sunday mornings when Steve’s reading the paper and Penny’s next to me, and I’m reading the book like I’m pausing and I’m noticing this is my life that I created.

And I love it so much instead of, okay, what are we doing today? What’s next? Like, and you’re just going, going, going. It’s finding these moments of pleasure so that you feel the pleasure so that you not only enjoy your life, but also, so you don’t have such strong urges to escape your day and kind of have that false pleasure. Eating high quality food can be pleasurable.

So once you’ve removed those condensed foods and the food you’re going to get the most false pleasure from, which would be like the sugar and the alcohol, um, the fried foods like that, condensed sugar and flour, you get a lot of pleasure from food, whether it’s a salad or an Apple or a piece of fish and having a moment of appreciation for the food and enjoying it is something we rarely do unless it’s, you know, a decadent piece of cake.

Okay. So really appreciate that food and find a moment of pleasure with the food. The next example I have is taking walks outside. I love to take a walk. I love to walk around the city. I love to just go on a walk. I’ll either go by myself or with Steve. It’s just something that I find a lot of pleasure in, very different for me than taking a hip hop class, but similar in the sense that it has to do with me kind of moving.

So if you think about how you like to move, it might be something totally different. You might like to rollerblade, right? Think about what you like to do when you were 10 years old. So for me, it would have been dance, dance class, and you will likely still find that sort of activity pleasurable. Sunsets. How pretty are sunsets?

I’m thinking about the sunset that I saw when I went up to Door County last month with Steve and we were in Ephraim and the sunset was just gorgeous. And we just sat on the grass and watched the sunset. It was just beautiful. Physical touch. So hugs, right? You might not be hugging a lot of strangers right now, but you can hug your family or people like your friends who, you know, have been quarantined or are healthy and don’t have COVID hugs, kisses, sex. That is natural pleasure.

So think about how you can create that for yourself and not just kind of, you know, hug someone and tap their back, but really hug them and get that pleasure that your brain loves so much. The last example I have is listening to music. So music really connects with your soul and your emotions. So if you listen to music that is easy for you to feel good.

When you listen to it, you will have that natural pleasure hit. So again, as I give you this list, I want you to just think about things that are easy for you to experience natural pleasure. Like my brother and brother-in-law, they love to cook and they don’t just do it as a task to get it done. They love it. They love the art of it. They’re interested in ingredients and cooking tools and it’s an art. So they’re totally in flow with it and they get pleasure from that. So for you, it might be that way as well.

So just think about throughout your day, how you can find some natural pleasure and you can tell the difference between a natural and a false pleasure based on how it feels. So you’re going to want a false pleasure to get a hit of pleasure, to avoid some sort of discomfort.

So if you are picking up your phone and scrolling on social media during the day, your thought before you took that action was not, Oh, I really just want to see what my friends are doing and take a moment to feel good. Right? You had some sort of subconscious thought that took you away from the discomfort of your task and your brain knew that you would get this hit from scrolling, right? There’s no appreciation in it.

The same is true with online shopping or eating food. That’s really condensed or having a lot of alcohol. It almost feels like more of a high, high, and a urgency to cover up the low. So if you had a hard day and you want a glass of wine, that’s not going to be a natural pleasure. That’s going to be okay. I want to feel good because this day was bad.

And so you think that thought, and then you feel bad and then you seek the false external pleasure to cover it up and to feel better. Natural pleasures aren’t like that. You bring attention to the present moment with natural pleasures and they feel good naturally without the high. So at first, if you try to do this and you haven’t done any of the escaping work that I’ve taught, you might not find pleasure as easily.

So let me give you an example. If you try to find pleasure in an Apple, but you’re used to having a piece of Apple pie every day, your brain and body are so calibrated to think that the Apple pie is necessary for survival. And that’s the level of pleasure that you should be having, right? So you have to remove those escapes and really recalibrate your body. I kind of talk about this in weight loss in Grow You where you have to reset your body so that the natural pleasurable foods are actually pleasurable for you.

So there will be other activities that feel pleasurable for you that are natural, that come easier to you. So, you know, the example of hip hop for me or flowers, right? That’s just such a natural pleasure for me, puppies babies, right? Reading a book. So think about for you, what comes naturally for you to enjoy, and then look for ways to experience that and to pause and to enjoy, you know, getting ready in the morning and feeling the appreciation and joy and gratitude instead of the rush and the urgency.

So I want you to ask yourself, where can you find more pleasure throughout the day, more natural pleasure and write it down and then start looking for it because your brain remember, it’s always looking for danger. That’s why we want to watch the news on repeat. We think it’s necessary for our survival. So you have to train your brain to look for an experience and enjoy the natural pleasure. And when you do that, you slow down a little bit and you won’t have a sense of deprivation at the end of the day. So you won’t want to escape as much and you won’t need to use as much willpower because you will have enjoyed your day.

So I really enjoy planning. I don’t think of my G calendar as something restrictive. I think of it as a tool that helps me live the life I want to live. So I enjoy it. I enjoy going to physical therapy. I enjoy recording this podcast. So I don’t have the urge to escape as much. Sometimes I do. If the day goes, you know, unexpectedly or, you know, something breaks down and it is to me, what I want to interpret as a really hard day. Right. But I have the tools and I don’t escape really.

And I know where I can look to find that true natural pleasure and feel really good. So I want you to look for that and train your brain to see it more in the little things throughout the day, so that you start to feel better in a very natural way, because you’re thinking thoughts like, wow, look at those flowers. I just love them. Wow. I look great today. I’m so thankful. I got to sit down and read this book. This is so amazing. I love going on a walk. I get to play with Penny at lunch today.

But you have to think those thoughts to feel that pleasure, to feel that appreciation and presentness instead rushing around through, you know, the walk or the flowers or the whatever else. So it’s really an exercise in slowing down, noticing what brings you joy and pleasure and focusing on it. So you feel really good and you’re not trying to suffer through the day and then seeking those external pleasures because your brain always is going to want some form of pleasure.

You can just do the work of making sure you’re getting it, the natural pleasure instead of that false pleasure, that will have a net negative consequence, right? So if you’re drinking, there is a net negative consequence where you’re going to feel bad either at night or the next day, and also the longterm effects, the natural pleasures they don’t have that net negative consequence to just keep that in mind, as you’re deciding what to bring into your life to experience more pleasure. All right, that’s what I have for you today. I will talk with you next week.

Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.