10 ways to set off “The Hedonic Treadmill”

Life’s a rat race. Believe me or not you and me have heard this countless times and still we make all the attempt to win it every time knowing that there is no end.

You are constantly running on “The Hedonic Treadmill” or the hedonic adaptation that refers to the tendency of people to return to a set level of happiness despite life’s ups and downs.

What does this mean? Analyse these situations for yourself…

1) You feel extremely delighted to receive a LV bag from your husband, you cannot stop raving about it and flaunting it to your friends. Yes you do it for a few days and what happens after that? Do you feel the same happiness wearing it on your shoulder the 10th time maybe? NO. By then your happiness level comes down to its set level. NOW you desire another branded bag.

Take another example..

2) You suffer from a terrible accident and live in anxiety for some days. Fear persists giving you sleepless night, but after a couple of months you start to live with it and stay happy . Right !

3) You win a lottery and are super happy about it but after a few days you start to worry about the money more forgetting how happy it made you when you had won it. Happiness changes to worry, and you look forward to another lottery and gamble more.

Basically the point I am making is, despite all you come back to a set level of happiness.

Now you may wonder, what is your stable level of happiness? And how do you measure it?

Happiness Set Point

Studies have shown that our circumstances don’t account for most of our happiness. Each person has a happiness set point, which refers to one’s genetically determined predisposition for happiness. This set point for happiness is responsible for about 50% of the differences in happiness from person to person.

In her book The How of Happiness, researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky says that:

      1. If you struggle with a low set point, meaning, you tend to gravitate towards sadness or depression, don’t be so hard on yourself. Deal with it.
      2. Fifty percent, as high as it is, is not 100%, so there’s plenty of leeway for improvement. Your actions, thoughts, and attitudes account for about 40% of your happiness, which is quite significant. The final 10% is determined by external circumstances.

How to get off the treadmill and stay happy?

  1. Give yourself permission to be human: Accept your emotions, including fear, sadness, and anxiety. Rejecting them leads to frustration
  2. Simplify your life. Focus on one thing at a time and reduce multitasking.
  3. Find meaning and pleasure. Engage in goals you want to achieve instead of what you feel obligated to do. Spend two hours per week on hobbies. Spend time with our loved ones.
  4. Focus on the positive and be grateful. Each day, write down five things for which you’re grateful.
  5. Increase the effort you put into your relationships. Go on a date with your significant other or spend more time talking to your children.
  6. Be mindful of the mind-body connection through exercise and the practice of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques. Research has shown that exercising leads to decreased levels of depression.
  7. Practice loving – kindness with every breath you take.
  8. Recognise its effect and curb your appetite for more instead live in minimalism and understand that lifestyle inflation is hard to reverse.
  9. Stop comparing. When you catch yourself comparing what you have to others, put a stop to it immediately. If that means deleting your Facebook account, please do it now.
  10. Understand your own values. Priories your needs and separate them from wants. Planning your budget and understanding what you value most will help too.

In short, disassociate your happiness with things and situations instead find happiness in little joys and grow it each day. It will help you increase your happiness level and finally reset your stable happiness level.

Happiness and sunshine 🌼



20 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautifully written – the plateau to nothingness is where we reach over a period of time

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! But still the mind strives for more and more.. such an irony. Where is the peace?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is an oxymoron statement

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s the irony ..

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True my friend

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Have a good day

        Liked by 1 person

  2. arv! says:

    Nidhi, it is all because of the consumerist world we live in. Most people get pulled in with all they see without realizing what’s happening to them. I feel we need to make a conscious choice to enjoy life and that also means we need to stay away from people who place more value on materialistic things than people themselves. It is often we see how people judge their friends and family based on the brands they wear, holiday destinations, the cars they drive and so on.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I blame social media for this too. How often friends get jealous of each other and start to behave haywire.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. arv! says:

        Absolutely. SM has started ruling life of people. People have started planning holidays simply because they want some buzz for SM. Well, it is their own choice! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Instead of we can detach ourselves from things and as you rightly said value people life will get off the treadmill. We are always running behind the bigger things, and the little joys are often overlooked or ignored by sight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arv! says:

        I believe we need balance. Do things if you want to and not because it is a cool thing to do. There’s no point in getting involved in a rat race that will never end. Isn’t it so?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kamran says:

    I loved the last part of this post where you said that we should find happiness in the little things in life.

    I always used to attach happiness to goals and expectations and when I didn’t reach them, I was sad and low.

    For the past few months, I have been grateful for the little things in life and I am in the best stage of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy you found little joys .. good for you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sam says:

    Great post, thank you for introducing it to me on my blog. The more ways we come to understand what happiness is the quicker we will get there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All the best Sam !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sam says:

        You too!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. soniadogra says:

    Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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