As lockdown continues, and we face another few months of life without access to our traditional gym settings, I have been inundated with questions regarding training strategies that can be implemented at home.
What are your first thoughts when you hear the words ‘peace’ or ‘pleasure’? For some, the words may be associated with each other even possibly used interchangeably, but in reality, there is a very distinct difference as observed by Jay Shetty.
Former monk, purpose coach and bestselling author, Jay Shetty shares his wisdom and invites us to challenge our everyday thinking within his podcasts, which was the inspiration for this article. When we think of pleasure, we think of the things we enjoy, perhaps food or drink we love to consume that conjure up feelings of comfort. We may think of long lie-ins or even the process of choosing a more comfortable option, such as settling down for a Netflix marathon as opposed to going to the gym.
Indeed, it is within our human nature to seek out pleasure and avoid what we may class as either painful or less immediately rewarding.
But when we reflect on how pleasure benefits us in the longer term, we may start to understand that it doesn’t necessarily bring peace.
You see, pleasure is experienced in the moment, it’s not a long-term state, so when we begin to recognise this, we can start to differentiate how perhaps peace can offer us more than pleasure.
If we are honest, we are all looking to find more peace within our lives. When we take a look at the world around us, there is much to cause us concern or worry. Certainly, the past few years have underlined these feelings, but how do we bring more peace into our lives?
This may feel like the million-dollar question, but bringing more peace into our lives can transform how we live and how our mind and body works, and here’s the thing – peace isn’t as fleeting as pleasure – it can be everlasting.
But, that’s not to say it’s easy, and that is one of the defining differences when comparing peace with pleasure.
You see, the thing with peace is that it requires commitment and often doesn’t feel as good in the moment compared to pleasure. It requires you to make space for it and at times even force yourself to commit. Essentially peace comes from doing what is good for you, even if it doesn’t feel so great in the moment.
Let me explain. Peace can be found in many different forms. For some, finding peace can come about through preparing for the day ahead. Instead of pushing that snooze button and getting an extra 30 minutes in bed, peace can be found from getting up out of bed and committing to a routine that focuses your intentions and thoughts for the day ahead. This may be using the time to journal, meditate or even both; but it is the act of carving out space to create a feeling of balance.
Now, the reality is that when the alarm sounds, the lure of the snooze button can be overwhelming and by pressing it, it does give an immediate sense of pleasure. It’s a place of comfort where we don’t have to put much thought into anything. No commitments are made and zero pain is felt. However, the flip side of this can mean that instead of planning out our day and working on our priorities, we start the day rushed, less focused and feeling on the back foot, which ultimately doesn’t benefit us.
By starting the day with a sense of calm, we are giving ourselves the space to set intentions, understand what the priorities are and where our energies are needed. In fact, by carving out this time for peace, we are setting the foundations for our future, which could be that same day or even further into the future.
The same can be said for how we nourish our bodies. Food can certainly bring us a world full of pleasure, and our favourite foods may rarely show up on the healthiest list. But how does this sense of food pleasure play out in terms of peace?
We all know that eating healthier and fuelling our bodies correctly is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. That doesn’t necessarily make it the popular option, but by doing so, we can create further long-term peace in how we feel nutritionally.
The same can be said for exercise. Hands up who’s binned off going to the gym because, well, you just don’t feel like it? You might feel a little guilty, but in all reality, you convince yourself with so many reasons why it was the right option not to go.
However, when you push past these feelings, you know that after your workout you will feel much better than you originally did before. Not going can result in you feeling sluggish, lethargic and possibly more tired than had you actually gone.
You see, it’s important that you make space for peace – you have to create time to allow it into your lives in order to gain all the benefits it has to offer. For example, we all know that getting out into nature benefits our mental health, and it’s recommended that we aim to get out in nature for 120 minutes per week.
Now, when we look at the big number, we perhaps automatically think ‘Where am I going to get that extra two hours from – I’m already so busy’. But, if we break that down, it’s just 17 minutes per day, which is far more achievable and still offers all the same benefits.
Peace can be achieved using all of our senses too. From the music we listen to, to the sights and smells around us, peace can be achieved through all of our senses. So perhaps adding more soothing tracks to your Spotify playlist can help you achieve peace during your working day, or utilising the benefits of aromatherapy and adding calming scents to your home can help achieve peace as you rest.
Hoping this article has helped highlight differences between peace and pleasure; encouraging you to pay more attention to those daily habits of pleasure seeking, seeing where they could be swapped to peace finding, in turn gaining those longer-term benefits
Imagine playing a complex board game where everyone is playing by their own rules, except you don’t know what the rules are or how to invent your own. That’s what life can feel like when we haven’t learnt the skill of healthy personal boundaries.
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