Pleasure feels good. That’s kinda the point, right? But did you also know that the experience of pleasure is vital for maintaining a healthy body, mind and soul?
When we experience any of the four forms of pleasure — physical/sensual, sexual, emotional, or spiritual — a veritable cocktail of highly beneficial, health-supporting, life-enriching hormones and chemistries are released in the brain, and other areas of the body.
Many of these brain and body chemistries have anti-aging, health supporting and mood-enhancing effects that are absolutely crucial for maintaining a happy heart, a strong, healthy body, and a balanced, peaceful mind.
Unfortunately, our cultural orientation to pleasure is wrought with conflict. We are conditioned to believe that some forms of pleasure are acceptable and should be enjoyed regularly (i.e., good food, good friends, good coffee), and other forms of pleasure are ignored, frowned upon, or not discussed openly, especially if they enter into the realm of sensual and sexual expression.
But what if our sensual and sexual pleasure is a form of medicine that allows the body to heal and regenerate itself?
And what if all four forms of pleasure are a built-in guidance system, giving us clear direction to which experiences are truly serving us in life, and which are not?
Wouldn’t it behoove us to become more aware of the pleasure that already exists in our lives, and strive to cultivate more of those experiences for ourselves, and everyone around us?
By becoming conscious of how and where the four forms of pleasure are already showing up in your life, you can begin actively reaping the rewards of this built-in, health-enhancing mechanism.
The four forms of pleasure are:
- Physical/sensual pleasure (relates directly to each of the five senses)
- Sexual pleasure
- Emotional pleasure
- Spiritual pleasure
Each of the four forms of pleasure have an array of beneficial chemistries that are produced in the body when we experience them.
Some of these amazing, pleasure-generated “happy hormones” are:
- Oxytocin — Oxytocin is stimulated through touch and is linked to personality, passion, social skills, emotional quotient, all of which affect career, marriage, emotional health, and social skills. Oxytocin is stimulated in the body through touch and sexual orgasm.
- Phenylethylamine — This brain chemistry has an anti-depressant effect and helps us feel more alert, and a sense of well-being and contentment. It can be released in the body by experiencing visual pleasure and sexual pleasure, and is found in chocolate.
- Endorphins — There over 20 different types of endorphins. They act as natural pain killers and stress relievers, and they improve immune system function. They induce a general sense of well-being and cause feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Some also increase confidence. Endorphins are released in the body when we experience laughter (emotional pleasure), physical contact (touch), and exercise. Sex also is a potent trigger for endorphin release. The practice of meditation has also been shown increase the amount of endorphins released in your body (spiritual pleasure).
- Serotonin — Serotonin is generally thought of as a “feel-good” hormone. It helps people to feel relaxed and contented. Serotonin can be generated in the brain by pleasurable activities such as exercise (movement), sunlight, eating wholesome foods containing tryptophan and vitamin B6, and sexual orgasm.
Given all of this, one might surmise that the human body is actually designed for pleasure, and that if we regularly experience all four forms of pleasure, we become healthier in body, mind and spirit.
By making use of the inherent health-enriching benefits of pleasure, we gain access to more of our vital life energy, and we are able to contribute to all areas of our lives with more power, joy and purpose.
Now that’s some good medicine!