4 Ways to Feel Happier with Sensual Living
“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Things have been changing for me in the past couple of months. I was at a point in my life where everything looked great from the outside: I had graduated college with honors; I had my own apartment; I got a new full-time job and numerous freelance opportunities. But still, something was missing.
Something inside me clicked and I realized I just wasn’t happy. And trust me, that was not an easy realization to make. Unhappiness isn’t something we want to admit to ourselves. It sounds so grim: “I’m not happy.”
I’ve always been an information sponge. Always looking for more ways to educate myself and better myself. I decided that my next quest would be the search for happiness.
I studied numerous books and articles about the topic, one after another. I put more and more on my plate, thinking that all of these “happiness resources” have got to help me become a happier person. I had the resources right there in front of me, but still, I wasn’t happy.
That’s when I realized something. Just because I had the information right there in front of me, didn’t mean that I was actually making any true changes inside of my subconscious. Reading article after article about happiness without any real action would not make me a happier person. Reading is not the same as doing. This type of information overflow will simply make me a person who’s more educated on happiness.
So I decided to stop. I decided to stop searching for happiness and start focusing on feeling happiness instead. I stopped searching because I wanted happiness to find me. Better yet, I wanted to find joy.
I decided to say goodbye to my anxieties about finding the solution and just let it go. I decided to learn to trust myself and begin learning who I was at my core. I decided to take on a journey towards something I call “Sensual Living.”
What is Sensual Living? Sensual Living is a way of living life that is more sensuous at its core. It’s about being a more mindful person; a more grateful person; more in-tune with what the body and the mind want, crave, and desire. Sensual living is closely related to mindfulness and pleasure.
How Can I Find Joy Through Sensual Living?
**1. Learn to be okay with who you are at your core. **
You have to learn to be okay with who you are, inside and out. I’ve had my own self-esteem and body image issues ever since I was a young teen, and I still struggle from time to time. Working in the nightlife industry since I was eighteen didn’t help, since I was surrounded by beautiful women with model bodies and men who so blatantly desired them.
One day, I had an epiphany and I realized how ridiculous my obsession with weight was. I realized how terribly I was treating my body with my extreme yo-yo dieting. This was no way to live.
I realized that reaching a goal weight would not magically make me happier with myself. Instead, I decided to focus on just listening to my body and being comfortable with myself—regardless of what society and the media threw at me.
You have to learn to be fine with the way you look, what you enjoy doing, what you dislike, and what your passions are. Even if your likes are not necessarily deemed as “normal” or “conventional.” If you like something that no one else in your circle of friends enjoys, you have to accept that and stop pretending. Your likes and dislikes are part of what makes you, you.
Even though I’ve been a healthy living blogger for almost two years now, I hid this fact from many of my friends simply because I felt like it wasn’t the social norm. After embracing sensual living, I realized that I didn’t want to hide who I was anymore. It’s better to have a few friends who accept and support your passions than having a lot of acquaintances that you feel like you have to hide your true self from.
The sooner you begin to accept yourself as a whole, the sooner you can begin living life with sensual joy.
2. Spend more time doing things that give you pleasure.
We have evolved into a society that shames pleasure even though it is at the very core of our existence. We were made to feel it. That’s why this feeling exists. Once you figure our what you enjoy, you have to make a conscious decision to do these things more often. Don’t deny yourself pleasure just because you don’t feel like you deserve it—you do.
You might have grown up thinking that it’s “bad” or “selfish” to put so much focus on yourself. Many of us are shamed into becoming perfect selfless saints and devoting our whole lives to other people. But I believe life is not worth living without any pleasure.
Let go of any of your preconceived notions about pleasure, and begin living a life that is filled with beautiful pleasant things and activities. It’s worth it, even if you can only give it a few minutes each day. Five minutes is better than none. Go on a walk during your lunch break and listen to your favorite music or a podcast that you like. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi or something else you enjoy.
Feeling more pleasure in your daily life will reflect in your well-being, and it will make you a happier and more pleasant person in return.
3. Become more mindful of your surroundings.
I live in the city and I always see people rushing on the streets. People are going from office to home with their headphones in their ears, without really connecting to anyone or anything around them.
I won’t say I never listen to music when I commute, because sometimes I find that pleasurable, but it’s also important to learn to become a more mindful person. There are so many beautiful and amazing things you can see and experience on a commute to work: The tree branches moving in the wind; the leaves rustling and falling; birds singing.
Becoming more conscious of the beauty that exists in the world really lights up the beauty in your own life. It’s like a domino effect and it really works.
4. Spend quality time with yourself.
Spending time in solitude is just as important as spending time with friends and family. It’s only during solitude that we are able to truly reflect on who we are, what we like and how we feel. As a natural introvert, I love being alone and I spend a huge chunk of my time in solitude.
There are many things you can do to make your solitude even more special. For example, you could read a book or treat yourself to an in-home spa day. If I’m going to spend an evening by myself, I’ll pretend to prepare for a date. I’ll light a deliciously scented candle and shut the blinds. I’ll put some sensual music on (I love chillstep). Then I’ll spend time meditating through movement. I absolutely love feeling the music as it flows smoothly through my body. It’s like a seductive dance and massage combined into one, but you are doing it for the very sake of movement. You are mindful of your body and how it feels. The whole experience is extremely pleasant and euphoric.
There are many ways to experience sensual living in your own life. All of the little things you add to your life can lead to more sensual joy—and overall happiness.
10 Signs That You're a Free Spirit
When we think of the term, “free spirit,” we imagine a person who steers their own course in life, unencumbered by common burdens or concerns. Some look at those who identify as free spirits as being irresponsible or childish, though this mindset offers lessons to inform us how we can live life on our own terms.
If you’re someone who considers yourself an independent thinker or doer, who pushes against society’s envelope and is deeply committed to finding your own path, you may be a free spirit. Are you curious as to whether the free spirit path is for you?
Ten Signs You’re A Real Free Spirit
If you identify with any of these signs, chances are you have a free spirit waiting to be let loose into the world!
1. You’re Independent-Minded
Independent people thrive on listening to their own voices, regardless of the situation or circumstance. This key personality trait of the free spirit is a common one in innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative artists, as an independent streak also relies on a strong foundation and belief in oneself.
Are you the person in the room who always finds a new way of looking at things? Free spirits defy expectations and will always see the unexpected in equally unlikely ways. These kinds of thinkers can be great assets on a creative team, as they will always find a new way to look at an idea. Free spirits are also incredible advocates for innovation, as they are not afraid to stand up and for their ideas, no matter how much it veers from the rest of the crowd.
2. Fear Doesn’t Stop You
Dale Carnegie said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” Free spirits feel fear, but they don’t allow that feeling to be something that stops them. Instead, a free spirit will work through the fear and let it serve as a motivating factor. In fact, most free spirits will tell you that any success is not worth having unless it’s achieved with a healthy dose of moving through fear.
3. You Have a Strong Spine.
While it can be said that free spirits go with the flow of life, they accomplish it with a healthy and strong sense of self. This translates into living with intention and purpose and one that is not defined by anyone else. A free spirit walks the talk and in many cases, creates the language that makes up the talk.
4. Free From Attachment
To live as a free spirit, one has to be willing to let go, or walk away from the things that might weigh others down such as conventional relationships, careers, and other traditional trappings of modern life.
You might find a free spirit selling their material goods and living in a van, or not staying tethered to one place for very long. Or perhaps a free spirit may choose to live simply with a commitment to not participating in consumerism. Minimalism is often a choice of free spirits as this lifestyle embodies freedom from many of the things that weigh us down. Free spirits enjoy their own company and thrive on solo time, and putting themselves first.