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Pleasure: the best tool you are not using enough of

Let’s Talk Pleasure: 

Because if the first thing you thought of was “SEX”-- a) get your mind out of the gutter :) and b) you are not alone. ;)

What the f@#$ is "pleasure" if it's not sex?

In our productivity-obsessed culture, most of us hear “pleasure” and instantly think this is something confined only to the bedroom. 

But did you know that lack of pleasure (and even the G-rated kind) is likely THE #1 THING keeping you stuck right now?


Because the two ingredients you need to have a creative, fulfilled, and connected life are:


And chances are if you don’t have pleasure in your life at the moment, you may not even feel safety in your own body either. (Because we all need safety first to FEEL pleasure. Thank you root and sacral chakra). 

It's the nervous system, baby

As I described in my blog on Nervous System Regulation, many of our sensitive nervous systems are still feeling the effects of the pandemic (and #allthestress of modern life) and keeping us in a state of overwhelm

And, sorry, fellow brainiacs– but we cannot think our way out of this one. The solution is in the body. 

You can reverse your nervous system’s reactions.

And the solution is: MORE PLEASURE. 

(“She can’t be serious- it’s not that easy is it?”)

The first stages of healing our nervous systems is to remind them that they are capable of more than just stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. In other words: we need to re-wire the neurons to fire toward safety and pleasure and not take the “shortcut” to overwhelm every freaking time. 


So, healing our nervous system begins with calming the vagus nerve (the huge nerve responsible for our stress/anxiety/overwhelm) and teaching it that you are SAFE and you are capable of feeling GOOD. 

(“That’s great, but HOW?”)

First: Get Safe

To feel safe, the vagus nerve needs to experience sensations that prove that it is not in immediate danger (I always tell clients- “if it is something you would NOT do in the middle of someone chasing you– the vagal nerve thinks it’s safe”).

Things like: rubbing your ears, havening (touching your face/neck/arms), holding your breath, wall sits, balloon breathing and even just massaging your hand/feet (no one’s doing this if you are being chased) (There are many more, so do a “vagus nerve calming” search online for others that feel right).

*Some more active, movement-based vagal-nerve exercises that I like are hiking (using opposing arms and legs stimulate safety), swimming (the vagus nerve LOVES cold water), biking (using the vestibular system to balance), yoga, and dancing (your vagus nerve LOVES loud music and feeling bass). 

Then, Have Fun 

OK, back to PLEASURE: this can be anything you delight in: specifically your SENSES delight in.

First, you must switch to a mindset of pleasure as FUEL instead of reward. Take pleasure BEFORE you work in order to have fuel for your daily tasks (it’s like eating dessert first). 

Read that again work-a-holics: TAKE PLEASURE FIRST-- not later -- BEFORE working in order to FUEL your day (then you won't need as much "refuel" later).

By teaching your senses/nervous system to indulge in pleasure again, you are rewiring the expectation for enjoyment versus disappointment. 

And this takes A LOT OF PRACTICE, but the more your neurons fire in this direction, the less they will fire in the direction of discomfort.

If you can aim for 7 pleasurable actions x 5 (each sense) in one day, this would be amazing. 

**If you are not the type to offer yourself pleasure and need “permission” – take “Dr. Katie’s orders” to begin spoiling yourself now :) but my one caveat is to do as many of these IN REAL LIFE (and not digitally) as possible. 

Some Pleasures Based on Senses:

Sight: Sunsets, art museum, painting, walks/hikes in nature, photography books, contemplation meditation, calming films

Smell: Fresh fruits and flowers, coffee shops, fresh-air and sea-air, essential oils, fresh-bread

Taste: Ethnic foods with multiple flavors, fresh bread and baked goods, wine and other multi-layered drinks, veggie-rich meals (bitter helps reset taste buds), chocolate never hurts :)

Hear: Familiar songs, nature-sounds (crickets?), binaural beats, sound bowls, tuning forks, music with bass or danceable-beats, SILENCE

Touch: Massage, soft blankets and rugs, warm baths, cushy shoes, weighted blankets, stretching, hugging, and yes, everyone’s favorite: sex (orgasms help reset the vagus nerve too, so get to it!) 

These sound so simple – and they are – but you will begin to teach your body what it is capable of and it will begin to CRAVE pleasure in the same way it was craving a daily adrenaline shot of anxiety before. 

NO MORE ADRENAL FATIGUE! Go for pleasure above anxiety.

(“So then what happens?”)

After indulging in safety and pleasure for at least 14 days (and the more the better), your vagus nerve begins to calm the f@#$ down. Your resiliency for anything that upsets you begins to get stronger.

(Things are still going to be annoying– obviously – but your reactions to them improve). 

Slowly, but SURELY you will open up other neural and unconscious pathways that have been keeping you stuck as well. So suddenly:

  • Solutions to problems will come during pleasurable activities (because they don’t come from overthinking them) 

  • Confidence and power will come from remembering how good it feels to be in your joy

  • Connections to others improve when you are less overwhelmed 

  • Curiosity improves, bringing in more avenues for love, work, and even...more pleasure 

Want to talk about how you can add more safety and pleasure into your life again? 

xx Dr. Katie Larson   

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1 commentaire

So much of all of this! I love that you are bringing this to light. ✨️

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