If you’re a person who always seeks happiness in short-term, feel good ways, you might be a pleasure junky. They’re likely to choose junk food over good health, casual sex over a committed relationship, and impulse spending over long-term saving. Pleasure junkies want to feel good most of the time, and they rely on things outside themselves to supply those good feelings.

Unsure of whether you’re a pleasure junky or not? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you make long-term goals that get sabotaged by your lack of follow through? For example, you make a goal to pay off your credit cards with larger payments, but you keep buying things you don’t need while paying the minimum due. Another example is setting a diet plan that includes only eating when you are hungry, but you keep going out to eat with friends and snacking when you’re bored, lonely, or wanting to reward yourself.
  1. Do you often feel the need to reward yourself? Do you frequently do things you have told yourself you wouldn’t do? For example, after going down one size, you reward yourself with a new outfit for weight loss, but you originally promised yourself a reward after going down two sizes.
  1. Do you find yourself often seeking pleasure in things outside yourself? Do you look toward people, places, objects, and accomplishments to make you truly happy?

People who want authentic happiness have to complete the job from the inside-out; it does not come from outside sources. Happiness comes from how you are in the world. When you live in the moment by being fully present, are grateful for what you have, and have the desire and ability to find the gift or the lesson in all things, happiness will radiate from your core. Doing the work from within is the key to being authentically happy.

You will never achieve true happiness by being a pleasure junky. Let’s look at each behavior individually.

  • Live in the Moment: Much is said about living in the moment, but how do you actually do it? You need to consciously guard yourself against thoughts of the past or future, gently bringing yourself back to the current moment whenever your mind wanders. Remember, the current moment is all reality is. Most of us waste our “now” moments regretting or reminiscing about the past or worrying about or planning for the future. When you engage in those behaviors, you miss the only real moment you have—right now.
  • Live in Gratitude: No matter what is happening in your life, living in gratitude is possible. As my friend says, “Any day above ground is a good day.” If you are still here, you can find things to be grateful for. Start with being grateful for the air you breathe, the sunshine on your face, the rain that nourishes growth, and your shelter that protects you from the elements. Once you start with the little things, you can easily transition to the bigger things. Instead of being upset about the money you owe, be grateful you have a credit line available to you. Instead of being angry with a friend, be thankful to have friends in your life. Instead of wishing for a better job, be grateful to have the one you’ve got.
  • Seek out the Gift, Lesson, and Opportunity: No matter what happens to you in your life, if you have the mind to look for it, you can find the GLO: the gift, lesson, and opportunity. Growth often comes from pain, struggle, and sacrifice. Whatever terrible thing that happened to you in your life came with an equal positive gain, easier seen with hindsight. My husband died when he was thirty-seven, but I had the gift of being able to say goodbye, my children had the gift of his time after he stopped working due to his illness, and I found the opportunity with the work I do now. You can find the positive in all situations if you have the mind to seek it.

In order to find authentic happiness from the inside-out, you must be willing to sometimes deny yourself quick, easy moments of pleasure. You need to check yourself for the three behaviors and engage in them. Recognize that happiness is not elusive at all—it lives inside of you, and you can have access to it whenever you want. You just need to accept that it is there. Choice Theory® psychology can show you how.

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