Hedonic Adaptation

Aromatherapy Information & More

Hedonic Adaptation: Why You Are Not Happier

How Hedonic Adaptation Robs You of Happiness—and How to Change That

By Elizabeth Scott, MS

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 despite life’s ups and downs. It is known as “the hedonic treadmill” because of the seeming cot “treading water” experience where we always end up where we started.

Examples of Hedonic Adaptation

There are several different ways that this has been observed, and here are a few interesting examples:

  • People who win the lottery tend to return to roughly their original levels of happiness after the novelty of the win has worn off. (Some even end up less happy because of changes in relationships that can occur.) There is an initial…

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