Here’s a list of the most pleasurable (legal) things humans can do:
- Have sex.
- Suck on a piece of dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa).
- Have a relaxed lunch with a friend.
- Learn something new.
- Go shopping!
- Use your sense of smell – really sniff that flower!
- Do some gardening.
- Sit in silence.
- Go fishing (aka sit in silence).
- Play or listen to music.
- Go for a walk (or any form of exercise).
- Trust others.
- Have a nap.
- Dream (including lucid dreams).
Just for the sake of completion: yes, certain drugs are also extremely pleasurable, but remember how harmful they can be – and just because something is less harmful than heroin doesn’t mean it’s safe! Also realise that your use of drugs could give you such a massive high that real life just doesn’t seem that great any more. I’m being serious: a cocaine high can increase dopamine levels by 300-700%, compared to the 100% dopamine increase during sex – and you don’t even want to think about what amphetamines can do. Just remember that dopamine is involved in the wanting (i.e. addiction) rather than the liking (i.e. pleasure). Cool, now I sound like your dad.
This list is compiled from Sex, Drugs and Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure by Paul Martin.