Hedonic adaptation

Hedonic adaptation

Oooh I learnt this expression recently doing the Yale course - The science of wellbeing (Coursera).  It is the tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite changes in fortune or the achievement of major goals. As a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.

Basically we just get used to the good things and remain in a state of constant rollercoaster of the high of attainment that fades quickly. We make no money, then $50k a year is amazing, then after awhile, it's not enough and we want $100k and so on. We adapt and need more.

One of the remedies to avoiding hedonic adaptation is learning the art of savouring - to step outside of yourself to review and appreciate it.  A study was done that deemed the following as ways to savour a happy moment to last longer - 

  1. Talk to someone about how happy you are about the experience (it was deemed that experiences make us more happy than stuff).
  2. Have a physical expression of joy about it (singing is so fun).
  3. Amplify it - make a celebration about it or post "win" notes on your walls.

An example that was used was photography and the comparison of taking a photo to share on social media (which made us feel sad not happy) versus taking a photo to pursue a different angle on the subject, basically exploring the art of perspective apparently brings immense happiness.

It's a free course and I highly recommend. Especially for my sweet Pitta people that like studies and structured methodology and the course teacher is very knowledgeable.