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How to Create Healthy Pleasure for Anger Management

Humans are creatures who constantly need and seek pleasure. Without a sufficient amount of joy and pleasure in our lives, we end up feeling angry, irritable, moody, tense, and, worst of all, dull. Seeking pleasure in everyday life is just as natural for your brain as avoiding pain.

That’s right: The rather large, extremely complex brain you have operates on what is called the pain-pleasure principle — and, it continually strives (with or without your help) to strike a favorable balance between the two.

The brain doesn’t distinguish between healthy and unhealthy pleasure — from a neurological standpoint, it’s all the same. The good news is you can achieve the same high from running a marathon as you can from smoking pot. The former is an example of healthy pleasure (pleasure without adverse consequences); the latter, not so much.

You may have a good bit of experience with unhealthy pleasures — drinking too much alcohol, taking in too much caffeine, gambling on sporting events, driving way above the speed limit, having unprotected sex, and engaging in shop-’til-you-drop consumerism. But do you often engage in healthy pleasure? Here is a list of possibilities:

  • Attend a jazz festival.

  • Savor a cool glass of lemonade.

  • Go crabbing in the backwaters of Galveston Bay.

  • Walk your dog.

  • Watch birds cavort through the trees in the springtime.

  • Enjoy an expensive meal.

  • Help someone less fortunate.

  • Get a new car.

  • See the Grand Canyon for the first time.

  • Ride in a hot air balloon.

  • Spend a week on Maui.

  • Watch your favorite football team score the winning touchdown in the last second of the game.

  • Look at the horizon and picture God’s handiwork.

Spend some time — it doesn’t have to be much — each day indulging in some form of healthy pleasure. (Careful, you might get addicted!)

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