Everyone is looking to get more pleasure out of life. CNN has 10 tips on how to make life more enjoyable.
1. Play that song you love so much. Repeat. As any preschooler can tell you, repetition nurtures pleasure. When you experience something more than once, you notice more details about it each time, thereby increasing your enjoyment. That’s why you love revisiting that jazz standard, favorite roast chicken recipe, and beloved old Woody Allen movie.
Of course, you can overdo it. The effect of repetition on pleasure is an inverted U: You appreciate something more and more over time until, abruptly, it becomes repellent to you. Which is why no one you know can bear to listen to that “I get knocked down, but I get up again” song any more.
2. Seek out the sommelier. In all areas of our lives, our sensory reactions are affected by the depth of our knowledge. Take wine, for example. If you want to enjoy it more fully, you don’t have to shell out hundreds for a bottle of Château Lynch-Bages; you simply need to learn about the vino you are already drinking. Buy a wine encyclopedia, take a class–or head to a restaurant with a sommelier who likes to educate patrons during the meal. You won’t just think about wine differently; you will taste it differently.
3. Don’t buy boxed sets of DVDs. Economist Tyler Cowen says that much of the joy we get from our purchases lies in the experience of seeking them out, getting them home, and opening them up. If you receive 18 DVDs in one package, you’ll use up the buzz all at once. Buy them one at a time and space out the pleasure.
4. Keep your child’s baby shoes in your desk at work. You know how you keep a bag of almonds in your drawer in case you need an energy boost in the afternoon? Place something emotionally resonant there as well for the times your mood needs a quick lift. Stash a few objects that are connected with treasured experiences–say, that 1997 vacation to Barcelona–and occasionally take a moment to pick up one of these items and look at it closely. Elation is sure to follow.
5. Read (or watch or participate in) something that takes your breath away. A recent study found that people seek out newspaper articles that inspire awe–that hard-to-define feeling we get when we’re exposed to great beauty, power, or accomplishment. This pleasurable tickle is uniquely human and can be achieved in multiple ways: praying, watching nature programs, and reading stories of personal triumph, to name a few. Whatever gives you that lump-in-your-throat feeling, pursue it any way you can.