Simple Pleasures Help Reduce Anxiety
I've learned throughout my life, and in having coped with anxiety for many years, that many of the simplest pleasures in life can be the most helpful for my anxiety. Therefore, taking the time to appreciate simple pleasures is an instrumental part of my life and my ability to cope with anxiety.
When I am talking about simple pleasures, I'm referring to anything that brings me happiness for a brief period of time. This might be something like my cup of tea in the morning, listening to music, or taking a walk outside in the sun.
How Simple Pleasures Help My Anxiety
I know that, logically, there are specific reasons that brief moments of joy are helpful for my anxiety. As indicated by research, pleasurable activity actually inhibits anxiety responses in the brain.1 Therefore, I'm aware that there is scientific research that supports how this happens.
But certainly, I'm also aware that, in my experience, simple pleasures have been helpful for me. For example, I've noticed that just taking the time to read for a few minutes can help reduce anxiety symptoms. If I go out in my backyard to play with my dogs for a few minutes when I am under quite a bit of stress, it makes me feel better. Something even as simple as using my favorite pen to write in my notebook is sometimes enough to boost my mood.
But I've also noticed that two things are important factors in this -- mindfulness and gratitude. First of all, I have to be aware of the happiness I feel in the moment, which requires mindfulness. Mindfulness involves my focus on the present moment, which allows me to identify what I am feeling. Additionally, what I feel is typically not only happiness, however fleeting, but gratitude.
All of this results in experiencing the benefits of some of the simplest moments of happiness in my life. As I intentionally make it a point to incorporate more of these moments in my life, I've found it easier to cope with the emotional difficulties that anxiety may bring my way.
A Video on Simple Pleasures
Below, I've shared a video discussing some of the benefits that I've experienced focusing on and being mindful of the simplest pleasures in life. If you've found this helpful as well, share your own strategies in the comments below.
- Pleasurable behaviors reduce stress via brain pathways, research shows. (2010, November 10). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110171434.htm.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, September 28). Simple Pleasures Help Reduce Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2023/9/simple-pleasures-help-reduce-anxiety