The Joy of Self-Indulgence: Small Pleasures for Enhanced Well-being

In our busy lives, we often play multiple roles – employee, caregiver, friend, parent, etc. Amidst these demands, we may forget the most vital function – being our best friend and being kind to ourselves. A crucial part of this friendship involves permitting ourselves to indulge in the things we love. Let’s take a moment to explore the value of such indulgences and how they can contribute to our overall well-being.

Indulgences come in many forms, shaped by our unique tastes and preferences. For some, it may be sinking into a hot, fragrant bath after a long day; for others, it may be revisiting a favorite movie or savoring a beloved treat. No matter how small they may seem, these pleasures provide us with a sense of comfort, joy, and fulfillment.

Science backs up the importance of such positive experiences. As per the Broaden-and-Build Theory by psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, positive emotions like joy and contentment expand our thinking and actions to “broaden” our momentary thought-action repertoire. Over time, this broadened mindset helps us “build” valuable physical, intellectual, and social resources, contributing to our resilience and overall well-being.

Treating yourself is also a powerful act of self-care and self-compassion. Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneering researcher in self-compassion, explains, “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.”

However, it’s important to remember that indulgence is not about extravagance or excess but balance. It’s about acknowledging your needs and honoring them without guilt or judgment. This might mean designating a specific night each week as “self-care night,” where you engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. It could be reading a book, walking under the stars, indulging in your favorite dessert, or simply napping.

In the words of Eleanor Brownn, a self-care advocate and writer, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” This encapsulates the importance of refilling our cups to be our best selves for ourselves and those around us.

So, my dear reader, remember to pause and treat yourself occasionally as you journey through life. These small acts of kindness towards yourself will create positivity, contributing to a greater sense of happiness, peace, and well-being.

Take good care.