If you’re passionate about self-improvement and cultivating a success mindset, I’m sure you would’ve heard the psychological term “hedonic adaptation.”
Hedonic adaptation, also known as “the hedonic treadmill,” is a concept studied by positive psychology researchers and others who focus on happiness and well-being that refers to people’s general tendency to return to a set level of happiness regardless of the ups and downs of life. Hence the word “treadmill” because you always end up where you started.
Let’s focus on the ups for now:
You get your dream job and you love the new job until it becomes your new normal.
You buy a new car or a new house, and soon, you take it for granted.
You get married, have a brief honeymoon phase, and then in a matter of a few months or years, the passion and excitement wears off.
That’s hedonic adaptation. It’s a human tendency to get back to our ground state. There is an initial influx of joy, of course, initially but after a certain time, we experience the same general sense of happiness in our day-to-day lives.
It’s important that we fight this instinct. And what’s the best way to not fall in the trap of hedonic adaptation and not take things for granted? By practicing deliberate gratitude on a consistent basis.
I highly suggest writing five things, big or small, that you’re truly grateful for every morning and later in the evening before you retire to the bed (or next morning if night time doesn’t work!) three good things that happened during the day. This will help you overcome stagnation and inertia; you’ll always be grateful for the things and people that matter the most to you in your life, thus significantly enhancing the level of happiness and contentment you experience in your daily life.