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What is hedonism and does it affect your health?

Mar 18, 2021
Mary Miller
Core Spirit member since Jan 26, 2021
Reading time 3 min.

-Everyone knows hedonism has a bad reputation, but it might be time to reconsider-

If, instead of a guaranteed one-way path to death, hedonism can be beneficial to your health? And where did our ideas of hedonism come from and how can we use them to improve our health and even quality of life?

In this article, you can learn what hedonism is and what it isn’t, how it affects your health, and also how you can add/learn to appreciate some simple pleasures to your daily life.

▷When did hedonism begin?

Hedonism has its philosophical roots since the days of Plato and Socrates, but the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus is often credited with formulating an early form of hedonism, that is based not on a life of unbridled appetites, but moderate pleasure and respect for others. Today, there are many views on what hedonism is and this has a lot to do with some subtle philosophical arguments about how we should conceptualize pleasure.

So, broadly speaking, a hedonist is someone who tries to increase pleasure and minimize pain.

▷Is it a pleasure?

It would be helpful to think of pleasure simply as a subjective state. It’s a broad perspective, but it is very easy to apply to daily lives. But it should be remembered that just as different experiences can cause the same tremors of pleasure, the same experience can cause different reactions in different people. And many of the things that usually give us pleasure can also be dangerous or harmful in ways.

It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint when a previously pleasant becomes a problem. However, at that stage, pleasure is neither the motivation nor the result of behavior. Uncontrolled “hunger” has destroyed this enjoyment, and the best we can hope for is a relief, but without pleasure, the behavior ceases to be hedonistic.

And in addition, the purposeful pursuit of one intense pleasure of other aspects of life that bring “meaning and pleasure” is also counterproductive for living a rich and enjoyable life.

▷How to remain a rational hedonist?

Epicurus accented a life of harmony without the pursuit of wealth or fame, so his definition of hedonist could be: a person who tries to maximize everyday pleasures by balancing other worries. And this is also a kind of “rational hedonism”.

Increasing pleasure, as opposed to debauchery or addiction, doesn’t have to take the form of “more and better”. Instead, we should enjoy everyday pleasures as they happen. In other words, we’ll dive into the moments focusing all your attention on them. You will soon see that this kind of enjoyment can lead to a completely different and richer experience.

▷Is it good for health?

The maximization of everyday pleasures can be used in therapy and is a promising remedy for depression. One study of schoolchildren found that focusing on pleasant, everyday events, in this case writing them in a diary, reduced depressive symptoms, and the effect persisted after three months.

And enjoyment can be taught. One study looked at the effects of an eight-week program on the promoting enjoyment of a group of adults aged 60 and over in communities. The program reduced rates of depression, physical symptoms, and sleep problems, increasing psychological well-being and life satisfaction.

So we must discard the idea that pleasure is a little shameful or frivolous, and become the first adherents of this rational kind of hedonism. Also, we can think of Epicure and deliberately enjoy the simple pleasures that we have learned to ignore.

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