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Create your own happiness - Find your strawberries!

The energy of the world is feeling incredibly heavy at the moment, isn’t it? And this “moment of heaviness” has been going on for quite some time now, hasn’t it? How are you feeling? How are you holding up in these times?

It can feel really tough to find joy when things are not so bright, and indeed it can feel a bit inappropriate. I spent a long time considering whether the theme of this blog post was acceptable when there is so much darkness and sadness in the world.

But then I realised, that is why this post is absolutely necessary, because collective sadness and despair leads to more sadness and despair. We need moments of joy and happiness to remind us of all the good in the world – because there is so much goodness, kindness and wonder in this world, it just doesn’t “sell” like bad news, so it’s not shown to us.

When we try to focus on the good stuff with joy and with gratitude, the energy in and around us shifts and we begin to see the world differently. Our bodies are designed for happiness and pleasure and so, as a result, our biochemistry begins to change, and this is a much better position to be in to find solutions to problems big and small. It can be positively life changing.

“What is she talking about?” you may well be asking.

Let me explain some more.

I was recently involved in a brilliant 5-day online project with a lovely lady called Lucy AitkinRead, who is passionate about living life and running a business based around pleasure and joy, rather than stress and pressure.

You may notice that your brain chips in here with something like, “you can’t do that!” It’s ok, that’s what society has taught your brain to think for a very long time, that is your brain’s safe zone. But the truth is, you absolutely can do that, and you will feel so much better for it!

Over the five days, which are still all accessible on Lucy’s Instagram page @lucy_disco, if you want to try it for yourself, we explored lots of different ways that we can reintroduce pleasure into our lives. Then we talked about how this would boost our endorphins, change our biochemistry, and positively affect our everyday lives and the lives of those around us. Joy is contagious!

So, what are endorphins?

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are released in the brain by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus gland. As I expected, in this modern world of doom and gloom, all of the definitions on the internet began with a focus on the production of endorphins due to pain, because these incredible little chemical messengers also help alleviate pain when you are hurt.

But I scrolled down further, and in secret whispers, the internet revealed that endorphins are also released through pleasurable activities including eating delicious food, exercising, listening to music and yes, sex! That sounds like a much more enjoyable way to access endorphins to me.

Ultimately endorphins are there to help us feel happy, joyful and well. In Lucy’s Pleasure Powered Challenge, she spoke a lot about a book called “The Endorphin Effect,” by William Bloom, a meditation teacher, which completely changed her life and helped her to focus much more on pleasure and joy. The impact of living a life of more pleasure has radiated outwards to improve her family life, her business and her overall wellbeing.

Our bodies are designed to be happy and receive pleasure. You don’t need to earn it or wait until someone tells you that you deserve it. It’s always there, waiting for you. And when it begins in you, the energy can flow from you and help others to experience more pleasure and joy too.

In the book, William Bloom tells a story about a man who is lost in the wilderness, he is hungry and weak, and a lion is about to eat him. The man lays his head on the ground and see’s a tiny mouse running by him. The mouse stops and looks up to a plant that has one big, juicy, bright red, delicious strawberry growing on it. The man focuses his gaze on the strawberry…. And here the story ends.

We don’t know what happens next, but the moral of the story is that however dire things may be, there’s always something that can bring a tiny bit of joy to your heart. There’s always a strawberry somewhere that can stimulate an endorphin release. As a Holistic Eco-therapist, I often find my strawberries out in nature, but they can be literally anywhere.

And so, to finish this post I have a task for you today, which is something we did in the Pleasure Powered Challenge. I want you to identify and write down your strawberries. These are things that bring you joy and pleasure. They can be people, places, pets/ animals, foods, smells, songs, spiritual teachers, hobbies, or something else. Write as many as you can.

Then try to spend some time each day finding and enjoying some of your strawberries. It doesn’t have to take very long, just 15 seconds of enjoying and soaking in one of your “strawberries” is enough to store that memory and create an endorphin building block. And the magical thing is that after this, just thinking about that strawberry can start to release those endorphins back into our bodies! The more strawberries we enjoy, the better we will feel, amazing right?

I’m not being paid to promote this work, it’s just something I’ve been doing recently that has really helped me to access my own inner power and to take control of my happiness, even when the world feels quite overwhelming. I hope that it helps you to find your strawberries too.


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