to Joy: Why Your Attitude Matters
The Pleasure Zone
Stella Resnick is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Los
Angeles and the author of The Pleasure Zone: Why We Resist Good Feelings
& How to Let Go and Be Happy. She had this to say to
Body & Soul's Gail Harris.
so important that we live our lives on a daily basis. Because, as I
tell people, which in some ways is a comforting thought, you may not
live long enough for your worst fears to come true. We do a lot of worst-case
scenarios; we rehearse what we don't want to happen. It's very important
for us to recognize that life is what's happening while we're busy making
other plans, as John Lennon said.
"It is important
for us to find pleasure in daily life. So it's really important to do
what you love to do, enjoy your days, dream of what it is that you want,
work hard for it, but make sure that the work you're doing is work you
love, that you enjoy what you're doing. That way, you may or may not
achieve it; if you do, it's gravy. It's wonderful. But if you enjoy
the process, then no matter what happens, whether you receive the rewards
that you were hoping for or not, it won't have been a waste, because
you really enjoyed the process of getting there.
"We have lots
of data to show that people who are fulfilled in their lives, who have
more good experiences, closeness with family and good friends and pets,
and feel fulfilled in their work--the essential elements of happiness--these
are the people who tend to resist illness, even illness that they're
genetically predisposed toward. We have plenty of evidence to show that.
These are also people who, when they do get ill, recover faster. There's
a lot of good evidence to show that the happier we are, the healthier
we are. And often, too, the healthier we are, the happier we'll be,
"I define spirituality
as feeling a part of something good that's larger than yourself. That's
what we feel when we are more joyful. We feel that we belong. You can't
be joyful if you feel at odds with the culture at large. If you feel
that there's nobody around that you can communicate with, you're not
going to have joy. So being a joyful person, being a happy person, automatically
says that you have good relationships. If you have good relationships,
then you're going to extend yourself to people, even people you don't
know, because you'll feel with them and that's what we mean by compassion."
Sarah Ban Breathnach
Sister Alice Williams
Stella Resnick, Ph.D.
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