Pleasure Experience

If you’re familiar with me, you’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of pleasure in your day-to-day.

But you may be wondering how that translates to you and your life - and why it matters.

Picture this - one woman decides she wants to feel better.

She’s always tired, has put on a few pounds she can’t seem to lose, and she’s feeling kind of frumpy.

So she decides she needs to start exercising.

She decides to start walking in the mornings.

She sets out that first morning - puts on her workout clothes, laces up her sneakers, and off she goes.

As she’s walking, she starts recounting the details of the tv show she watched the night before, and as she remembers what a jerk the lead character was being, she finds herself thinking about her boss and how he’s been breathing down her neck lately.

This leads her to remember that her work project has been running into one delay after another, and it’s her reputation on the line. She starts thinking about all the things she needs to get done today to have even a remote possibility that she can meet her deadline.

Then she remembers she’s supposed to be at her daughter’s school play that day, so she has to leave work early - ugh, looks like another late night!! 

Before she knows it it’s 45-minutes later, she’s back at home, her walk is done - great, right?  

Workout completed, box checked, move on.

Another woman makes the same decision - she is going to start walking in the mornings as a way to feel better.  

The only difference is that she has committed to focusing on the enjoyment and pleasure factor, and she decides to bring this to her walk. 

She sets out that first morning - puts on her favorite workout clothes that make her feel strong and stylish (and no, they’re not designer:), laces up her sneakers, and gives herself a playful wink in the mirror before she heads out the door.

The first thing she notices is how cool the morning is - it’s quiet and still, even though the birds are singing with delight, there is a slight fog rising from the grass, and the sun is just beginning its daily journey through the sky. She is struck by the utter beauty of the moment and decides to linger for just a bit on the immense beauty all around her.

After all, she loves nature, being outside - it’s one of the main reasons she chose walking as the way to move her body most mornings. 

She moves along her route, looking and finding sources of surprise and delight along the way - the broken robin egg that’s just been hatched, the dew drops on the grass, the gentle breeze caressing her cheek. 

She can feel the blood pumping through her body as she notices her breath - she even feels the urge to run up one of the hills and so she does. At the top of the hill, she’s breathless and smiles as she realizes how exhilarating running up the hill felt.

Thoughts about her day ahead come up, and she lets them go as she brings her focus back to the beauty of the morning, her body, her breath, feeling confident in knowing that she has set aside time to deal with those thoughts later.

Before she knows it it’s 45-minutes later, she’s back at home, her walk is done.

So what’s the difference here?

Is one walk better than the other?

Both got these women out and moving, blood pumping, calories burned, and that’s what matters most, right? 

Yes and No. 

While it’s true that both women went on a 45-minute walk, got their bodies moving and blood pumping, both had a completely different EXPERIENCE. 

One was laden with frustration, worry, overwhelm, and dreading the late night ahead - the other was teeming with appreciation and delight for the beauty all around. 

So why does this matter? 

Because your EXPERIENCE powerfully impacts what happens inside your body, which means it impacts your physical health and well-being on a far deeper level than just the activity itself. 

And you get to CHOOSE your experience. 

In fact, only YOU can. 

You choose your experience by choosing what you focus on. 

It really is that simple. 

Does that mean the first walk was “bad” and a waste of time? 

Absolutely not. 

It got the first woman out and moving, breathing fresh air, and working through some things that have been weighing on her mind - walking or another exercise can be a great opportunity to process, reflect, and tap into ideas that can address day-to-day challenges. 

That said, her experience more likely triggered “stress physiology” in the body, which typically works against her original goal - to look and feel better.

Whereas the woman who chose to deliberately focus on things that brought her enjoyment - how she felt in her workout clothes, being playful with herself by winking in the mirror, and noticing the beauty all around her, the peace of the morning, signs and sounds of nature - had a Pleasure Experience - and this typically unleashes the OPPOSITE of stress physiology within the body. 

The Pleasure Experience will support the ultimate goal - to look and feel better, more energized, more alive. 

So find one activity this week - maybe a walk, maybe a meal, maybe an outing with friends or family - and decide to find ways to deliberately focus in a way that brings you more fun, more enjoyment, more pleasure! 

I’d love to hear about your experience - email me at and let me know what you notice with your Pleasure Experience.

To Your Best Health,
Dr. Kendall Ritz☺