6 Hedonism Hacks you Won’t find in a Self-Help Article
Hedonism means simply enjoying pleasure and minimising pain. It’s hard to say that this is a bad thing even though hedonism as a philosophy gets a bad rap for being self-serving, overly rational and even inhuman. But we’re not talking about that today. Today we’re talking about how people of any philosophy of life can get more enjoyment out of living and doing the things they love and with less negative effects. These are simple things that can crank your life up a notch and take it to the next level for yourself and those lucky to be around you.
But first, one of the main reasons why people are missing out on pleasure in their life–
What Goes Up Must Come Down—the defeatist belief that keeps us down
There’s this belief that pervades most minds in modern society and it’s that what goes up must come down. If you get drunk on 8 beers one day, you will feel the exact opposite effect of those beers the next day. If you were really rich and ate nice food every day and went swimming a lot, that would start to feel normal for you.
This belief is defeatist and holds you back from enjoying things to the full.
It’s a product of fear and submission. It comes from a fear of really enjoying yourself and really seizing life and reflexively with a desire to believe that what you have now is just as good as what other people who get more out of life have.
And it’s plain wrong for so many reasons. The ultimate of which being that you know that not everything is that relative. If you drink a single beer you experience enjoyment with no ill effects afterwards. And some things almost never have negative aftereffects or even positive aftereffects like sex. And some things are all negative, like getting wounded. And you know all this but the pervasive thing about this belief is that it often exists at the subconscious emotional level even though your thoughts may say something different. The cure is to recognise this and then repeatedly tell your emotions to change.
Then without inhibition and with the motivation to seize opportunities, you can improve your life for the better.
So now let’s get to the fun part . . .
1. Wine Preservative Free Drops
Wine doesn’t have to cause headaches or discomfort. You may have noticed, or next time you drink wine be aware that wine may cause discomfort immediately or for the next few days. this is because many people are allergic to the preservatives used in it—notably Sulphur Dioxide gas. Preservative free wine drops like Pure Wine oxidise the sulphur gas without affecting flavour and can greatly improve your appreciation of wine and can seriously avoid hangovers.
A less sophisticated idea is to use them with goon (box wine) to get drunk really cheaply without the ringing ears but this is not a hedonism hack in the long run.
2. Low-Intensity Cardio
This is part science, part personal experience, but the best and least strenuous way to build up a rush of endorphins throughout your entire body is low-intensity cardiovascular exercise sustained for 30min+. The longer the exercise is sustained, the more endorphins will build up in your system (but there are probably diminishing returns eventually for a very obvious reason relating to the fact that endorphins are actually opiates).
This conforms with the idiomatic understanding of the way exercise causes a good feeling. ‘Runners high’. And in my opinion, running takes the cake for endorphins, followed closely by a spin session or cardio workout. But, of course there are other fun factors involved in less solitary and linear sports. E.g. soccer has the social factor, risk factor, ‘flow’ factor and probably more which is why some people like it more.
3. Dramamine uhhh climax
This is the most controversial item on this list which I am writing for work by the way so all I will say is that if you are a male, and you take 200–400mg diphydrinate or dimenhydrinate tablets (dimenhydrinate is also called Dramamine and has a caffeine-like stimulant as well which kind of sucks at counteracting the sedative, so they are both the same really) and you uhhh climax, it will blow you away. But then again, for 8 hours if you don’t go to sleep and maybe for the entire next day you may feel tired and kind of lousy depending on your system, so this might end up having a negative effect and if so just don’t do it again obviously. And some people are hypersensitive to it so even more than the 50mg recommended dosage will send them into full-blown delirium in which spiders cover the walls and Texas Chainsaw Massacre plays on the back of your eyelids which is what can happen so take the 50mg motion sickness dose first just to make sure.
4. Perceived Risks
There are two kinds of risks: actual risks and perceived risks. Actual risks are those that present real danger commensurate to the risk you feel. E.g. unharnessed rock climbing is an actual risk because it is just as dangerous as it appears to be. Whereas perceived risks are less dangerous than they are perceived to be. E.g. harnessed rock climbing is just as shockingly high as the alternative, yet is an extremely safe sport.
Perceived risks are a lot of fun. They trigger the fight-or-flight response which releases a lot of adrenaline but also the feel-good chemical dopamine in our systems and in a situation where you know that the danger is not real, this rush feels really good (source).
To experience this kind of thrill can often cost a lot of money. Extreme sports are by definition, a bit extreme. But there are some very cost effective ways to get invigorated:
- Indoor rock climbing
- Stand-up comedy
- Writing clubs
- Theatre auditions/theatre sports
- Trampoline centers
- Hair dye, hair colour, tattoos . . .
- The whole dating world online and in real life
- Night hiking
5. Research Diseases, Unfortunate Accidents And Humanity’s Brutal History
The medical field has knowledge of an estimated 30,000 diseases (source) and Wikipedia has an extremely summarised but still incomprehensibly large list of them for your enjoyment. They range from Cotard delusion in which a person believes they are already dead and putrefying to Cri du chat which is a genetic disorder causing atypical facial features and expressions, hyperactive repetive movements and a distinctive cat-like cry to Candiru—the name of a parasitic Amazonian fish that invades the human urethra.
Learning about these diseases—all of which have affected at least one but more likely hundreds to millions of people throughout human history—and the entire brutal history of humanity in which people were stabbed and starved and denigrated etc.—all this helps us to be grateful for what we have. And this sounds like a typical vacuous self-help thing to say that may change your perspective for about 30min,but, you can make it have the impact it warrants by doing some of this shocking research for yourself. For gratefulness to impact your life, it must obviously have an impact. And this is the same as what those recovering from horrible ailments say—that they are grateful for just living healthily now because their disease had such an impact on their life.
6. Unbridled Narcissism
Why are so many people narcissists? Uhmm, because it feels so good. When you start to experience it, you will find reasons to keep it up and this can cause you to become an insufferable person. Narcissism is so infuriating because it produces in others a mix of paradoxical feelings of like: but I’m better than you, but wait, that’s narcissistic, but at least I’m not as bad as you because I keep it in check, but that’s as bad if not worse, no I’m not that bad . . . but wait, if I’m not narcissistic I’m actually envious of you for having more fun than me and self-esteem.
Narcissism just looks so fun and actually is—as we have all experienced at some time or another. This section of the article seems like really bad advice but it is actually the same advice that all your standard self-help guides deliver (but is explained in a way that will actually work).
Self-help books always say things like “believe in yourself”, “focus on what you are good at”, “do a hobby that you enjoy and you are good at”, etc. but they never actually give you a reference point for which to judge yourself as ‘good’ at something, or ‘worthwhile’ in any way. Because if they were to say “believe you are better than other people at least at what you are good at”—that would sound like unbridled narcissism and poor advice and it wouldn’t sell as many copies because that’s not what people want to believe they are doing to help themselves. (There’s a whole article-size tangent on how self-help books help you delude yourself that I have the temptation to include here parenthetically but I know that that would be poor penmanship and not to mention SEO.)
The straight truth is, that you shouldn’t delude yourself from the fact that healthy psychology includes a fair dose of narcissism. This is self-esteem and should be present in everyone irrespective of how they should objectively be esteemed which is the realm of abstract philosophy but most people would agree that even the unemployed and disabled are human beings and hence have a high degree of worth. This is the basis of what I call the ‘narcissism complex’ in our minds which is formed by the axiomatic reasons that you like what you like and you like people like yourself and etc. And these things that you like you like for reasons that you understand.
That’s why I believe the best way to build healthy, feel-good everyday self-worth is by doing a hobby that you genuinely enjoy and just the fact that you enjoy it and identify with it and possibly meet others who like it will increase your sense of feeling (in this one way, not in every way hopefully) better than a lot of other people. And if you really are good at your hobby, even better.