Being Obsessed with Pleasure Only Creates Dissatisfaction

April 1, 2018

For writer Hermann Hesse, the need to be busy and in a state of compulsive pleasure, doing instead of simply being, leads to dissatisfaction with life. However, the German has an answer that might seem obvious and simple, but is profound and capable of changing how we relate to the world. The compulsive search for pleasure can turn into constant dissatisfaction.

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman speaks of living in a society that is fluid and pro-consumption, obsessed with meeting our material needs immediately. It’s a throwaway culture, and our needs are actually never satisfied. We want to want to consume more to feel complete.

The huge, vague dissatisfaction we feel is unfortunately a big part of our social lives too. We spend all day wishing for new things and as soon as we have them, we want something else. As the consumer society we are, we’re constantly presented with new things and thus new desires pop up in us every day.

An upset woman covering her head in the snow.

Pushing ourselves to be happy makes us more prone to depression

According to a study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, desperately seeking happiness could be a dangerous shortcut to anxiety and depression. Happiness has become the goal in and of itself, instead of being a direct consequence of a life well-lived. Or at least well-defined

There’s a reason for the direct link between forcing ourselves to be happy and depression. It’s become we’ve gotten accustomed to repressing our feelings and doing everything possible to not look weak.

We all deserve to reach our potential and take advantage of every opportunity to be happy. However, difficulties and hard times are part of life. And denying ourselves the experience can be even more harmful than accepting it.

Negative emotions may be necessary in the transition period between an external negative stimulus and a healthy emotional recovery. These emotions cause energy drops that stimulate us to reflect. Don’t forget that negative emotions also have a job. For example, it’s healthy to feel pain or sadness after the death of a loved one as a step towards recovery.

 

 

 

A depressed woman with dissatisfaction with life.

 

There could be happiness on Mondays

Quality of life depends not only on happiness, but also on what one does to be happy. If you don’t have goals that give meaning to your life, if you don’t use your mind at full capacity, then good feelings will only inspire a tiny fraction of the potential we possess.

After decades spent studying the states in which people reach their full potential, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came to a conclusion. It is that people are happier when they reach a state of high concentration, which hecalled “flow”.

Mihaly, professor of neuroscience at Stanford, found a paradox: work is more conducive than leisure to get into a state of flow. Flow could be interpreted as happiness. The key is that for many people leisure is dead time and work is just the opposite. Having clear objectives, managing them and getting feedback is key to flow.