MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
Hedonic adaptation refers to people’s common tendency to return to a determined level of happiness regardless of life’s ups and downs.
Hedonic adaptation is often referred to as “the hedonic treadmill” because we always end up where we started.
Researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky has examined this set-point:
A full 50 percent of our happiness set-point is due to genetics. 10 percent is affected primarily by circumstances like where we were born and to whom. 40 percent is subject to our influence.
Certain pleasures are more prone to hedonic adaptation. These pleasures can lift your mood quickly, but their effects can be short-lived. You may also get used to them fairly quickly. For example, If you have the same meal every day, you may find it to be less enjoyable by the end of the week. This is also true for fresh flowers or listening to your favorite song.
Gratifications, as well as activities that give a strong sense of meaning to us, are more immune to the effects of hedonic adaptation.
Critics view the hedonic adaptation tendency as a generalization that fails to take potentially shifting factors into account.
This is the primary way Positive Psychology researchers have defined and measured people's happiness and well-being.
It's defined as your evaluations of your own life and your moods and emotions (that's why it's labeled as "subjective").
We have a tendency to adapt to pleasurable things—a phenomenon called “hedonic adaptation”—and appreciate them less and less over time.
We can interrupt this process by trying the Give it Up practice, which requires temporarily giving up pleasurable activities and then coming back to them later, this time with greater anticipation and excitement.