Your new car. Your new relationship. Your new Fleuvogs. Your amazing vacay. Your promotion.
If you’re like everyone else, cold, hard science says these things will bring you a boost in your well-being for a length of time between a few weeks to a few months, then it’s right back to however happy you felt (or didn’t) before these entered your life. (As a point of interest, a study in Germany found getting married provided a boost for 2 years on average, before the individuals reverted to their baseline experience of happiness). Why does this happen? We are hard-wired to adapt to, as in get used to new and good things in our life and take them for granted. Kinda sucks, but there you have it.
Want to get the most happiness for your buck?
A recent study gives two clear ways we can significantly slow down the adaptation process.
1. Active appreciation of the new item or experience. Appreciation is the psychological opposite of adaptation say the authors of the study. It amplifies the various good components of the new item thereby regenerating the feel good responses. It turns out those gratitude journals are probably extending your happiness and lowering your need to buy the next bright, shiny object.
2. Variations of the new item maintain the feel good responses as well. For example, new apps on your iPhone bring back its original sexiness and thrill. Or using your new car for different purposes – road trip, carpool, volunteering – will sustain your sense of pleasure in your new vehicle.
photo credit: hurricainemaine