Can a Pleasure-Deficit Make you Sick?

What brings you pleasure and a sense of fun?

What makes you feel alive and happy in your body?

Identifying and regularly doing these things is powerful medicine for your body and soul and will lead you toward vibrant health, well-being and increased impact in the world.

Are you Allowing Yourself Enough Fun and Pleasure?

Several years ago I taught a series of holistic wellness workshops to health care workers in a large hospital.  As a group their health was so poor the hospital system was not able to find an insurance company that would issue them an insurance plan.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many illnesses were much more prevalent in these health care workers than in the general population.

Hmmm, so sadly ironic, isn’t it? These people devoting their lives to helping patients were themselves so unhealthy they could not get insurance coverage.

To solve this, the hospital system decided to implement its own health insurance plan which included an employee wellness program I was hired to help create and to coordinate.

One of the administrators frequently expressed dismay and frustration that the employee obesity rate was so high.

“ Why aren’t they eating better?” She often asked me.

Some of the reasons become obvious when I met with small groups of nurses, aides and housekeeping staff and listened to them talk about their lives. They were working so hard, for such long hours, and giving so constantly that their inner reserves were depleted. They arrived home exhausted and hungry and ate what was easiest and what made them feel a little better- even if just temporarily.  

Some things were beyond my power or theirs to change. We couldn’t decrease their work hours or their workloads or hire them personal shoppers or chefs.

I did work with them to create individualized strategies for planning, shopping and cooking that made it much easier to eat healthful meals and snacks even in hectic times.

They also learned to reclaim the healing power of healthy pleasure.

No one had ever told them that doing fun things that helped them feel more alive and happy would improve their immune function, lower their stress levels and activate their natural healing response.

Since they weren’t getting many healthy pleasures in their day, when they arrived home exhausted, depleted and often understandably grumpy,  they reached for the temporary feel-good fix of fast foods, chips and sweets.

Too often the healing, restorative power of healthy pleasure gets overlooked when we talking about preventive medicine, natural health and self care. We talk about self discipline and what we should or shouldn’t eat and we often overlook the power of pleasure.

Think for moment about what your body loves to do. 

What helps your body feel alive and relaxed and energized and happy?

How often are you doing those things?

What happens when you deprive your body of what it needs and loves?

If you are like me, and like most people, when you deprive yourself of healthy pleasure you will tend to overeat, eat less healthful foods, overspend, and may experience anxiety, frustration, fatigue, grumpiness, depression and lack of motivation.

Commit today to tuning into your body’s pleasure needs and your health and happiness will immediately begin to improve.

(Breaking old patterns and habits is much easier with support. Want to feel fabulous in your body and to create vibrant well-being? Email me today with Let's Talk in the subject line.