First: Studying Happiness
We know the distinction between a good feeling and a bad one, but I would say that a wise spirit (consequently a happy one) tries to go further on the pursuit of self-knowledge, and that is why I’m bringing the distinction
between Pleasure and Enjoyment that I found in this paper on Positive Psychology by Seligman, the father of this field.
“Pleasure is the good feeling that comes from satisfying
homeostatic needs such as hunger, sex, and bodily comfort.
Enjoyment, on the other hand, refers to the good feelings
people experience when they break through the limits of
homeostasis, in an athletic event, an artistic
performance, a good deed, a stimulating conversation”
Now I’ve recently discovered this, I honestly feel relieved to find this field on Psychology that studies happiness, it makes everything lighter for me. We are this big ball of confusion and different thoughts and feelings, and to just name it, is to differentiate from everything else that is going on. Anxiety, for example, it is not a primary feeling, it is just a defense mechanism so you don’t feel the pain from your real feelings, that is why recognizing what you’re feeling is so good to prevent anxiety, the second you give it a name like “sadness” , it is the first step for your body to understand and accept to be sad and not anxious. The same works for pleasure and enjoyment, it makes your experience of these two states more enjoyable.
Food relationship, food philosophy?
So I as said before, I suffer from Binge Eating Disorder and I always end up relating everything that I read with this problem, or at least when it is most prominent in my life as it is lately. In the food world, the distinction could also apply, there is the food that gives you pleasure, it relieves your basic needs, and the food that brings enjoyment, it goes beyond caloric needs and it is everything else about it, like the process of cooking or the arrangement of different flavors and shapes. It is not a real division like “oh, this hamburger will only bring you pleasure and this salad will only bring you joy”, it is more like “there is one pleasurable side and one enjoyable side in each food “. When I binge the pleasure side keeps rolling even though I don’t feel joy anymore, the food stops tasting that good which can make me eat more as to try getting that feeling once again. My belly can even hurt from so much food, but the evolutionary search for calories plus the industrialized food that it is available makes it hard to stop. But once you recognize the food has stopped tasting so good, or by other words, when you recognize you don’t feel joy anymore, it can get easier with time. Sometimes I forget checking this, and I realize I’m overeating because the food stopped tasting good for some time and I’m still there, but then I stop. Other times I realize it stopped being enjoyable and keep it going because nobody is perfect and you know how hard it is, so I try not to blame myself and stop when I can. It really helps. Really wish to help someone with the disorder, it has been 7 years that I deal with it, I feel like I can help but will ever someone actually read this?
And enjoy the enjoyable!
But don’t focus on the exact moment to repeal the food, Positive Psychology teaches us to look on the positive side, right? Enjoy the enjoyable side of your food too, feel the texture, the flavors, how they mix with each other. That way you’ll even recognize faster when they stop being so prominent, and that is when you’re satisfied.
Yesterday I ate at Bife, I was very happy to find two vegetarian options, I chose the Mediterranean with curd cheese and pesto, my god how these two blended with each other. I gave my fried cassava to my friend since from the first bite they didn’t appeal to me, let’s say I didn’t felt the enjoyable part of it (and since I recognized that, I could let it go).
Thank you, have a good meal!