As of tomorrow, I shall be in the classroom for 9 days solid as I commence the first half of this years intensive hypnotherapy practitioner diploma. So there’ll not be any deep and meaningful blog entries from me next week.

At last night’s Hypnosis Geek Dinner (full of hypnosis discussion, debate, fun, jokes and great company of fellow hypnosis geeks) one of my colleagues/friends said to me that with the first of my five marathons just a few weeks away and the training that goes with that, with my business, life and then running a nine day training, was I not worn out and dreading it?

No way!

I find teaching one of the most pleasurable things I do – it is a tonic and I cannot wait. I love it and certainly would not do it if I felt any other way. I think more people should do more things that give them more pleasure… So I thought I’d round this week off before my week long absence from the blog, writing about a means of getting more pleasure from life and experiencing it more.

A wee while ago, Mrs Eason and I watched the most recent (2009) Dorian Gray film together… Dorian Gray was the chap whose painting aged instead of him, he was forever young and chose of path of non-stop pleasure seeking…

That may sound fantastically delightful to most, yet the Oscar Wilde novel and the film show him descend into becoming a lost soul… All the pleasure he had was simply not valuable to him in the end and it possessed no meaning.

There are many people that I encounter through my therapeutic work and teaching seem to have lost their connection to happiness… Oh, that everlasting pursuit of happiness, eh?

For some, they are recovering from a trauma or sadness, for others life got on top of them in some way, for others things just seemed to fizzle out over a period of time, or maybe even got sidetracked on other things that became more important than being happy. As crazy as that sounds!

So today, this process is all about restoring that connection, getting that spark of happiness back and installing some real pleasure in life while being happy at the same time.

Step One: Firstly with this process, you draw up a list of as many things that you can think of that make you happy. Things that bring you happiness.

Think about the things that happen when you are consciously enjoying a pleasurable experience, that is the stuff we are after. It is the stuff that just makes you feel good.

Of course it can vary from parachute jumping and marathon running, to doing self-hypnosis and watching your favourite TV show… Make an individual and unique list for you, that is all about you and how you derive happiness through pleasurable experiences. Make it as exhaustive as you can and spend some time doing this fully before you move on to the next step.

Step Two: With that list in hand, pick any item from that list, ideally one that is particularly good. One that really gets your pleasure juices flowing. Also, you would be best to pick one of the things on the list that engages as many of your senses as possible… So that it has sounds, images and feelings attached to it when you think of it.

When my wife has a bath, she sets up candles, has bath salts and bubble bath that fills the top of our house with aromas, she has music on and you can see how that engages lots of senses, can’t you?

Step Three:  Create a mind map.

Nothing complex, and ideally writing it down rather than just doing this in your head… On a piece of paper, write down in the centre that thing you picked in step two.

As you look at and think about that thing, ask yourself now “what personal value and meaning turns pleasure into happiness?”

Ok, so that can sound a bit obscure… Let me explain in simpler terms… Draw a line from the experience at the centre of the page and write the answer at the end of that line.

So if my wife were doing this and she chose the bath example I used previously, she might write “this is a time for relaxation and letting go of any stresses of the day.” And “This feels luxurious and I like that time for myself.”

Someone else might include that it fulfils their requirement for some time by themselves, maybe to switch off and disconnect, and someone else might think that to use a special kind of expensive smelling salt in the bath is a sign of class and wealth and that appeases some other value they have.

Keep on creating as many answers as you can think of, that feel true for you and only stop when you feel satisfied that you have explored this enough. Then move on to the next step.

Step Four: You are now going to build upon your map… pick any of the answers you wrote in the previous step and this time, as you look at that answer, ask yourself: “what personal value and meaning makes this answer a pleasure for me?”

Draw a line from the answer and write that new answer at the end of the line, again generating as many answers as you can think of. Then go ahead and do this for all the first set of answers you came up with, so that you have a really comprehensive map, with layers of answers and responses.

Step Five: You now get to enjoy!

Now take some time to relax and soak up all the meanings you have come up with, indulge yourself in it all… his is the stuff that creates your inner state of pleasure! This is sensory pleasure expanded and advanced into happiness through your values and deeper meanings.

You might even want to get into a deep state of self-hypnosis and start to revel in this state of pleasure as you pass this stuff in and through your mind.

Step Six: Carry this enhanced pleasurable state into other aspects of your life.

Imagine other things you do in life and imagine doing them while you have this enhanced pleasure state. Imagine taking part in activities in your life whilst enjoying the pleasurable state at the same time! Really get into it and take time to imagine future scenarios of feeling this way, doing that thing, and then do all that you can to make sure you feel this way when you next do those activities.

Step Seven:  Go and take some action that is undeniably convincing to you that you are taking more pleasure in life… Go and do something, get into your pleasurable state and notice the effect it has upon your work, your life roles, your education and much more besides.

You’ll find that the more you use it and get into it on purpose, the more it’ll happen all by itself and there’ll be more and more pleasure in your life altogether.

It is one of the ways I have managed to make sure that cramming in so much into my life is such a pleasure; because it is all things I absolutely adore doing… So I’ll be off to teach my intensive class and I’ll be back the week after next… Don’t miss me too much 😉