Hedonic adaptation refers to the tendency for people to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness after experiencing major positive or negative events or life changes. While this tendency is common, combatting it can prove challenging.
How Can Hedonic Adaptation Influence Personal Finance?
Hedonic adaptation plays a significant role in how we feel about ourselves, and has been studied extensively for its effects on well-being research. It helps explain why certain emotions come on at certain times and then fade away over time.
This type of adaptation can also be affected by our experiences with other people. If we have many positive interactions, it can make us contented and increase our sense of self-worth; conversely, having too many bad interactions may decrease our sense of worth and reduce happiness levels.
It can also influence our decision-making and how we prioritize things in life. By focusing on what matters most to us and making decisions based on that, it may become easier for us to avoid getting caught up on the hedonic treadmill.
There are ways to prevent hedonic adaptation from impacting your personal finances. First and foremost, you must recognize that this process is taking place.
Think of a time in your life when you felt particularly happy and excited about something. Perhaps you got promoted, got a new car, or purchased an exclusive designer accessory – whatever it was, it made for an exciting period in your life.
But eventually, the rush of adrenaline wears off and you begin to get a little bored with it all.
Once you find that feeling of fulfillment and joy, you may begin searching for other things to bring about the same effect. A better job, a nicer home, an expensive car – anything to make yourself feel better about yourself.
If you don’t take breaks for fun and relaxation, you could end up on a downward spiral of unhappiness. That is why some experts advise against seeking new experiences constantly.
They suggest that you should prioritize what matters to you and invest your money on those things. Doing this helps prevent spending money on things which will ultimately bring about greater feelings of emptiness later.
This strategy is also more successful at providing long-lasting satisfaction. While you may enjoy an occasional sugary snack or new slushie, these indulgences won’t bring you any lasting fulfillment.
Another approach to preventing hedonic adaptation is showing gratitude for what you have in life. For instance, if your circumstances are ideal – with a great job, beautiful home, and healthy children – remembering that being fortunate can help combat hedonic adaptation and keep you contented.
It is essential to recognize that hedonic adaptation is an inherent aspect of human psychology and cannot be avoided entirely. However, you can learn to cope with its effects and hold onto your happiness more tightly.