July 15, 2013
Happiness: Kicking Hedonic Adaptation to the Curb
Hedonic adaptation – our ability to get used to circumstances, good or bad, and return to our previous level of happiness – is great when you get dumped, but what about when you win a car? Get a free ride through college? Do we have to accept that after a few months we won’t care about it anymore? I don’t think so. I think we can use gratitude to make a wonderful circumstance “stick.” Reminding yourself every once in a while of this windfall or reward, and maybe the specifics of how it’s added to your life, can keep you feeling good about it for much longer. You probably already do this sometimes. Have you ever had a beloved pair of jeans or a favorite book? Every time you slip into those pants or crack open that book you feel a little… something. Notice it. Whether it’s a tiny bit of excitement, relief, or just a warm positive feeling, notice it and appreciate this gift. Because it’s the constant accumulation of tiny bits of positive feelings that increases our happiness level.