HEALTH : being addiction-free | a road to happiness

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i’m not sure if this post will be controversial or not. i certainly don’t mean it to be.
to be clear, i’m just writing this as a reflection of my own journey – not at all as a guide or advice for anyone else. i believe in sharing our stories, both successes and tragedies. to learn more about this world through the eyes of others.

that’s why i also love when you share your stories in the comments of this blog. every time i read about your triumphs and troubles, i feel connected.

so what i want to share today is one of the biggest reasons for my happiness as i see it.
yes, that’s right – i consider myself to be a happy person. it’s very odd to write that down, because growing up, i never saw myself as a happy person. nor did i believe that i ever would. i’m quite sensitive, and i’ve always been so easily upset by all the wrongs going on in this world.

but now i’m happy. there are of course more than one reason for this. david being a huge one for example. however, i want to focus on one reason today which might be a bit unexpected : the chemical one. and to be precise, the effect addiction has on our happiness and wellbeing. and i’m not only talking about narcotics or alcohol – i mean just about anything you can get chemically addicted to : sugar, caffein, fat (although that works a bit differently), nicotine and pain-killers.

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to make this story short : we’ve all probably experienced some form of addiction, be it mild or serious. let’s take smoking for example – the first time you try it it’s going to shock your system. you’ll get a kick, it’s going to taste weird and your body will probably give you signals that this is too strong. when you’ve smoked a few times you’ll get the kick without the warning signals. if you start smoking daily you soon won’t get the kicks anymore – your brain gets desensitised. after a while you’ll need a cigarette just to feel normal, and you’ll feel low and distraught without smoking. being on nicotine has now become your normal state.

we can of course apply this to anything addictive – sodas, coffee, chocolate, junk food, or wine. basically anything that you crave everyday. and that even the thought of quitting stresses you out.

that the brain loses its sensitivity for the pleasure spikes (or whatever we want to call them) that smoking causes might seem like an obvious thing, and maybe even like a small problem. but here’s the kicker : when the brain loses sensitivity to enjoy a smoke, it also loses the sensitivity for other pleasures. studies have been made on this, and i find the results quite amazing. basically it seems like the more addicted you are to different substances, the less you’ll be able to enjoy life’s other pleasures.

the obvious example is that if you’re addicted to white sugar, a handful of blueberries won’t taste as good. but it appears that it works the same way for other things – if you’re addicted to white sugar, a massage won’t feel as nice. the sun in your face won’t cause as much pleasure. but then again, we all know that twisting your ankle is less painful when drunk. it goes both ways i guess.

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so the question seems to be numb vs alert. do i want to go through life feeling every feeling, tasting food the way it actually tastes, being sensitive to how my body is doing, experiencing the world at my most attentive ?

for me, the answer is yes.
i want to minimise my intake of addictive drugs and substances, so that i can actually get a sugar pleasure spike from that handful of blueberries, a true natural fat flavour from my walnuts, a pleasant bubbliness from a glass of wine, and goosebumps from david’s back-rubs.

i want to get satisfied by less.

i don’t want to constantly have the feeling that i need more, looking for new ways to temporarily satisfy that itching restlessness. i want to be content with what i have. and more often than not, i’m now able to feel that way.

when i first heard of these studies, i had already noticed the changes in how i was experiencing pleasure and joy. so it all made sense to me when reading up on it, and it has become a new way of understanding my own happiness. like i said though, this is not the only reason for my happiness. but having an easily satisfied, pleasure sensitive brain must be a good start, right ?

does this all make sense to anyone else ? am i the only one experiencing this ?

if you find this interesting, i also talk a bit about a related topic – resetting your palate to enjoy simple natural flavours – in my latest recipe video.

ok, now i’m off having lunch in the cold autumn sunshine, to see how much pleasure i can out of it. go enjoy yourself you too !
and share this with all them smokers out there you know and love ^^

love // jenny

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p.s. make sure to never miss a post – follow me on bloglovin’ !

autumn colours – definitely one of those things that makes me happy.
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11 Comments

  1. When I was talking to someone about struggling with sadness and anxiety he gave me this metaphor: happiness and sadness are like two pipes that feed into the same faucet, but if we shut off the water we don’t get to experience either. And that’s just for mood! I have definitely noticed how much more I can taste my food since focusing mainly on whole plants and becoming vegan! I love this post :) Thank you, Jenny! Stay excellent!

  2. I always look forward to your posts Jenny. Reading your topics about health and living are very informative, especially with your opinion included.

  3. You are def not alone experiencing this..
    I have been mostly on fresh coconut- water and lime- water for 6 (!) days now (only possible in the beautiful Mexico and in a yoga retreat..;) to detox mostly but also to re-set the senses and most important- to be able to listen well and clearly notice my bodies signals when and what its craving and why. And if its really hungry or just cos its dinner time..? What does it good and what is just numbing off the upcoming emotions..
    Thanks Jenny!
    I am a fan

    Lelde

    • jennymustard

      thank you so much lelde !
      i’m realy glad you liked the post !!
      lots of love

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  6. I love this column. Really great ideas… and food for thought :) thank you for sharing

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