The older you get, the less enjoyment you get out of life.
It seems that the world has faded: the colors are not so bright, the smells are not so enchanting, the sounds are less melodic than in youth … “Nothing can be done, this is age!” you say to yourself.
In fact, the years have nothing to do with it. We stop enjoying life in two cases: when we are sick and when we forget to please ourselves. After all, if you do not use the pleasure button for a long time, it automatically turns off. Click on it every day and more than once if you want to look younger, feel better and live longer!
Where is the infamous pleasure button and how to activate it, that is the question! Scientists give the following answer to it: the main organ of human pleasure is the brain, and there are five basic buttons that activate our hedonic center, according to the number of sense organs: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste. And which of them is the main one for you, decide for yourself, this is a purely individual matter!
The benefits of gingerbread
The French philosopher Michel Montaigne argued that pleasure is one of the main benefits. It’s true! The ability to enjoy simple things – the sound of the surf, the scent of a rose, a gentle touch, delicious food – increases immunity to a greater extent than tempering, which has been proven by science!
Tired or frustrated, do you automatically start twisting a lock of hair at the top of your head or scratching it? And you are doing the right thing! Directly below it, in the center of the corpus callosum, which connects the halves of the brain, is the pleasure center. Around it, like our planetary system around the Sun, the entire brain forge of emotions is built, which doctors call the limbic system. “Limb” means “circle” in Latin. Our entire emotional universe revolves around this most important, core feeling – pleasure.
Why are there emotions! Life itself, its quality depends on whether you get pleasure from it, whether you are satisfied with the way it has developed. If not, then, according to experts from the World Health Organization, you have no right to consider yourself a healthy person, even if all your tests and physiological parameters are normal. Loss of the ability to enjoy life – anhedonia is one of the signs of depression, and depression affects the entire body: it disrupts the work of internal organs, slows down metabolism, increases the risk of heart attack, a tendency to allergies and a predisposition to cancer …
Pleasure is not only a panacea for all diseases, but also a vaccine against failure. Those whose pleasure center works like a clock are more purposeful and successful, achieve more in life, because the feeling of satisfaction serves as the “carrot” that the brain uses as rewards for the successful solution of difficult problems. When you deal with them, the level of dopamine in the brain increases, a substance with which the cells of the pleasure center activate each other. And if the dopamine content decreases, we immediately understand that something went wrong, and we develop vigorous activity in order to eliminate the problem and get our portion of the dopamine “carrot”. Thanks to this universal system for stimulating pleasure, each of us from birth develops the conditioned reflexes, skills and behavioral reactions necessary in this life.
However, scientists are sure: by constantly stimulating the pleasure center, you can turn a person into a sexual maniac or even bring suicide – such a sweet death. You’ve probably heard of poor rats with electrodes implanted in the pleasure center, who lose interest in food, stop mating and caring for their cubs, and instead, for 10 hours in a row, they press and press the pleasure button, bringing themselves to complete exhaustion.
As is often the case, the discoverer of the pleasure center, the Canadian scientist James Olds, stumbled upon it quite by accident. In fact, he worked with the center of wakefulness: he implanted electrodes in animals and sent a current through them every time the rats entered a certain corner of the cage. As a result, all rodents began to avoid the danger zone, and only one rat rushed there with manic tenacity. It turned out that the electrode was installed in the wrong place. This is how the pleasure center was discovered in 1950!
Scientists asked the question: which of the hormones help us achieve success in life – those that increase the level of assertiveness and aggression (adrenaline and androgens, and by the way, they are produced in the female body too), or those that make us enjoy life and carry positive (dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, norepinephrine)? Pleasure hormones have won!
Moreover, this pattern was traced both in human society and in the animal world. It turns out that among lions, monkeys, meerkats, the dominant position in the flock is occupied by the most balanced and self-satisfied male with a high level of serotonin, and his aggressive and uncontrollable brothers with adrenaline surging in the blood always remain on the sidelines.
And to increase the production of hormones of pleasure, spend as much time as possible in the sun: when it shines in the sky, the brain begins to intensively produce serotonin, which charges us with a positive. In the dark, the nervous system produces the dull hormone melatonin, which makes you sleepy. It is not surprising that in autumn and winter, when daylight hours are short, almost all Russians fall into seasonal depression.
Source of happiness
In a large-scale international survey, British psychologists from the University of Manchester found out exactly which buttons activate the pleasure center in Americans and Europeans of mature age. The first place among the sources of pleasure was shared by sex, food, tobacco and alcohol, and then more original sources of pleasure followed in descending order:
- look at your good pictures or admire the reflection in the mirror and shop windows;
- listen to compliments;
- win money for a bet or just win, for example, in a card game or a chess game;
- get rid of an unpleasant person who stuck to you like a bath leaf;
- go shopping;
- hug a small child;
- petting a cat or dog;
- take off your shoes that are tight.
Psychologists have determined how you need to live in order to have fun.
Accept the change. Changes – both internal and external – are happening all the time. You start to think in a new way, change life orientations, environment, dreams and needs. Constantly, in spite of your age, you study, grow, shape your personality and never achieve any final result. Accept that change is needed and stop overreacting to it.
Invest in yourself and your life. The more time, effort, money and other resources you invest in yourself, the more you get. Put yourself first and do everything to get better and better every day.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Constant comparisons of yourself and the quality of your life with those around you only kill your joy and happiness. You have your dreams, aspirations, your own concept of success, your values and ideals. Try to move forward without looking back at the others, otherwise you risk not living your life.
Don’t hold on to the past. Understand that you do not have to demand from someone a sincere apology in your address or correct mistakes that were once made. The past must remain in the past if you want to move forward and live a fulfilling life. Concentrate on your future and stop carrying the burden of the past.
Be grateful for what you already have. We all have a bad habit of asking for more. But sometimes the best thing we can do is stop for a minute and think about who we are now. If you are the happy owner of your home and a refrigerator full of food, you have something to wear and someone to trust, then you are already very lucky, because most people only dream of such a life.
Think positive. The sooner you learn to resist the pressure of negative thoughts, the easier it will be for you to go through life. Start to control your mind and look for pluses in any situations so that over the years you do not turn into a person who is disappointed in yourself and the world around you.
Photo: ADOBE STOCK