Actually, we humans are creatures of habit. I have got used to the house arrest situation: I am not allowed to go outside, only with the dog 100 metres from the front door. I’m not allowed to bathe, take a walk, go on outings. The effect that started for me is called “hedonic adaptation” in psychology. We learn to deal with negative events. This “self-healing mechanism” or prevention of very nasty unhappy feelings works very well for me. I no longer find it oppressive or annoying all the time, but I deal with the effects of the curfew and the corona virus.
Now this blog is mainly about “being happy” and strategies to lead a happy life in as many moments as possible. No matter how adverse or difficult or absurd the circumstances may be. How do we manage to be happier in the long run?
This adaptation effort even gets in our way! Because we do not only get used to difficult situations, but sooner or later also to positive, beautiful changes!
I don’t want to empathize the old study where lottery winners were no happier after a year and a half than they were before they won the lottery. There are similar studies again and again. The result is similar: we adapt and get used to the happy event: a promotion, a wedding, winnings or even falling in love.
Two aspects make happy people different:
- They often remember the change and thus appreciate the moment. Every time they think about it, it works against the habituation effect.
- They think less about the time before the change. Thus they do not compare the time before the happy event with the now or the imaginary future. Because this leads to a “striving for more” or restless running in the hamster wheel.
I can think of one event that made me happier in the long run: “My dog came into my life! I really hardly imagine the time before that, but often remember the first, exciting time with him. Even now he is a lucky charm, because I am allowed to go out through him, despite curfew.
What are events in your life that made you happy (at that time) and how has your life improved as a result? Give these moments your attention and enjoy the results. Consciously don’t take it for granted, but follow the moment of happiness again and again.
Have fun “tracking down changes”! And until the next tip – every week – live from curfew – tireless, authentic and scientifically based.