Hedonic Adaptation is a tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.
Knowing that happiness can temporarily depart from one’s given hedonic set point, determining when dips are occurring can be extremely helpful in treating conditions such as depression.
When a dip occurs, psychologists work with patients to recover from the depressive spell and return to their hedonic set point more quickly. In doing this, psychologists are helping to equip patients with the tools to combat any potential depressive spells that may arise in the future.
Since approximately 40% of our level of subjective happiness is determined by intentional activities, one’s proactive and deliberative action can drastically improve his or her overall happiness.
Hedonic adaptation is an advantage in difficult situations, but can be a disadvantage when it means that we cease to appreciate pleasant circumstances.
One way to combat hedonic adaptation is to cut back on a luxurious enjoyment. Another way is to make the effort to savor the luxurious enjoyment.
If you get a nice coffee or cappuccino twice a week instead of every morning, it will feel like a real treat. Don’t just grab your cappuccino and run. Anticipate how good it will taste, tell other people how much you enjoy it, mindfully enter into the experience of drinking it, instead of gulping it down without a thought.