Advertising
Advertising

Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Do you live in the moment or are you building long-term happiness? Have you ever decided to go out and try a new activity or buy a new gadget, certain that it will make you happy, only to be disappointed?

So often, we think that a quick pick-me-up, such as a shopping spree or meal at a new restaurant, will revive our enthusiasm for life. However, we often find that we feel just as empty as we did before we left home. If you find yourself always trying to find happiness in the present, it may be time to re-examine your relationship to momentary pleasure and consider taking a long-term approach to happiness instead.

Advertising

What is happiness, anyway?

It is important to appreciate the difference between pleasure – which is an immediate positive sensation experienced as a result of a particular activity – and happiness. Happiness is a state that persists across time, whereas pleasure is more fleeting in nature.

You feel pleasure when you eat a delicious meal, receive a massage, or enjoy a few extra hours of sleep on a Sunday morning.

Advertising

Happiness is a global evaluation of your life as it stands, and it also offers a sense of hope for the future. Happiness may come from achieving a meaningful goal and reflecting on the steps you had to take to attain it, like building a long-term romantic relationship or undertaking a period of spiritual growth, for example.

Laying the foundations for future happiness is often hard work that brings little to no pleasure. Consider the following list of things that bring us long-term happiness, but often cause more pain than pleasure on a minute-by-minute basis:

Advertising

Things that bring long term happiness though it can cause pain at the moment

  • Working hard to get into shape and improve your health
  • Working through difficulties in a relationship to strengthen it over the long-term
  • Working at a challenging job in order to gain a better quality of life and professional achievements
  • Renovating an old property in order to create a beautiful family home for years to come
  • Budgeting carefully to save well for a happy retirement

Equally, many common things we do in pursuit of pleasure do not actually result in happiness over the long term. These include:

Things that bring pleasure but not happiness

  • Eating tasty but unhealthy junk food, which results in poor health and weight gain
  • Procrastinating at work, which may be pleasurable, but can result in an unsatisfying career
  • Playing video games for hours at a time, which impairs productivity
  • Watching television that does little to improve our knowledge or appreciation of the world
  • Buying unnecessary items, like coffee, that give brief pleasure but deplete our finances over time

How should we balance momentary pleasure with true happiness?

There is no need to forsake all momentary pleasure. It is fine to live for the moment some of the time. However, when it becomes detrimental to your overall life progress over a long-term period of time, you need to work harder at striking a balance between long-term happiness and short-term gratification. If you have a gnawing sensation that you are missing out on life and that your goals have been unmet for months or even years, this is a sign that you need to focus on attaining long-term happiness and spend less time in pursuit of short-term pleasure.

Advertising

You need to overcome your inability to push through discomfort and move towards what will make you happy over the long haul, even when you would much rather give into your desire for short-term gratification. We all know that working hard will pay off and produce long-lasting happiness, but actually making yourself put in the effort required can be immensely difficult. Anticipate these feelings and learn to take pride in overcoming them. Know that it is normal to resent discomfort, but that the happiest people are willing and able to tolerate psychological discomfort.

    More by this author

    Jay Hill

    Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

    Focus On Yourself, Because Most Of The Time No One Really Cares 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What 3 Things To Give Up If You Want To Take Control Of Your Life All You Have to Do to Sleep Better How Social Media Is Making You Feel Bad about Yourself Every Day

    Trending in Communication

    1 How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One 2 Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It) 3 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future 4 How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t 5 Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 5, 2020

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    We are given life with many opportunities to make it everything we want it to be and more. If you find that you’ve slipped into living a boring life, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve been doing and what you can start doing now to make it more interesting.

    Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list can definitely make any day or life more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

    Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaningful) one!

    1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

    Imagine being a young child. Life was never boring, was it? That’s because children harness every ounce of creativity they have in order to try new things.

    What would your 7-year-old self want to do in this moment? Maybe they’d pick up a paintbrush and try to paint the landscape around them. May they would go outside and build something with random materials around the yard. Maybe they would raid the fridge and put together a dish they’ve never seen before.

    Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play and use your creativity to its fullest.

    2. Go Play With Kids

    Speaking of little kids, if you have your own (or a niece or nephew), go play with them!

    Kids are absolutely hilarious, so it’s simply impossible to be bored when you’re around them. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

    Advertising

    3. Play Cell Phone Roulette

    You’ll need at least one buddy for this, but this is a great way to avoid a boring life. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one, and (if it feels right) call the person.

    You could spark an incredible catch-up session or, at the very least, remind someone that you’re thinking of them. Neither are boring.

    4. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

    This is a great part of a gratitude practice. We often forget to thank the people who do things for us, especially if we have come to expect those things. For example, have you ever thought about thanking your mom for that weekly phone call? Or thanking your sister for always sending you a homemade gift on your birthday?

    Take time to think of at least 5 people you would like to say thank you to and write out a card. You could even write them out for random people in your neighborhood, like the local librarian, a teacher at your child’s school, or the accountant at your bank.

    Anyone and everyone appreciates being thanked for their efforts.

    5. Sign up for a Class

    Nowadays, there are classes for everything. To make it as interesting as possible, try finding one that you wouldn’t normally consider doing, like salsa lessons, improv, or boxing.

    Otherwise, try to find a course on something you’ve always wanted to learn, like pottery, photography, or a foreign language course.

    What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people, which will add even more interest to your life!

    Advertising

    6. Talk to Your Grandparents About Their Lives

    We often underestimate how interesting the elderly are. You can rest assured that any elderly person you talk to will not have had a boring life! Take some time to talk to them and hear their interesting stories. You may even find that this motivates you to go out and find your own interesting experiences.

    7. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

    Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage. If you’re not into comedy, find an open mic that focuses on reading poetry or short stories and bring your own. These groups tend to be incredibly supportive for anyone who is willing to be brave enough to get up and try.

    8. Do Something for Someone Else

    Showing kindness automatically makes you feel good, but doing these small acts will also help to ensure that you don’t have a boring life. Try doing one or two things each week that are outside your normal routine.

    For example, you could make a batch of cookies for the mailperson or help your elderly neighbor organize one of their rooms. There are a million ways to show kindness to those around you. Tap into your creativity and find your own or use some of the ideas from the image below[1].

    Do random acts of kindness to avoid living a boring life.

      9. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

      If you have your own place, there is always a project that needs to get done. Many people simply pay for someone else to do it in order to avoid the hassle, but taking on a DIY project can make a boring life much more interesting.

      It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Maybe you repaint an old vase or build a spice shelf out of used pallets.

      If you need ideas, you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

      Advertising

      10. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

      This will give you something to look forward to. One study actually found that most travelers are happiest before a vacation[2]. Therefore, simply planning a trip will boost your mood, even if you can’t actually take the vacation right now.

      Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is also fun and relaxing!

      11. Go People Watching

      Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops, and train stations are great for this!) and just observe[3].

      People are infinitely interesting. Try to imagine what their lives are like, what they’re thinking, or where they’re going. You’ll never know if you’re right, but it will give you something to focus on and also help you practice empathy.

      12. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

      You can try that new Moroccan restaurant down the street and pick the most interesting dish on the menu. Or, you can raid your own fridge and throw together a dish you’ve never made before.

      If you’re up for a trip to the grocery store, try picking up a new fruit or veggie from the produce section. You may find a new food that you love!

      13. Dance

      You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

      If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public or join a flash mob.

      Advertising

      14. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

      Reading a good book can keep you occupied for hours. It will also transport you to a life that isn’t your own, and one that likely will be the opposite of a boring life. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn from those pages.

      Pick on of these inspirational books to start reading: 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life

      15. Spend Some Time With People You Care About

      Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or bring a coffee over to your parent’s place and catch up. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll avoid boredom.

      16. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to

      Some people are bored by museums, so if that’s you, skip to the next one. However, if you love art, history, or culture, this one is for you!

      17. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

      This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

      Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then, start taking your first step to make it happen.

      Now, go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

      More on How to Quit a Boring Life

      Featured photo credit: Alex Alvarez via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] FECAVA: Random Acts of Kindness
      [2] Applied Research in Quality of Life: Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday
      [3] Psychology Today: The Expert’s Guide to People Watching

      Read Next