Friday, April 19, 2013
Happy for how long?
You surely have noticed how the start of the nicer weather lifts most people’s mood? How long will it last – not the weather – the better mood? If it were warm and sunny ever day…. ? I remember the first time I ever met someone from Saudi, in my youth, and he told me how he loved our weather. His wife loved it even more, because of “all the different clothes you get to wear in the different seasons.”
So it’s not just the weather itself is it? Or is there something in this about things “wearing off?” Certainly psychology speaks about this idea – often termed the “hedonic treadmill.” This explains how when we achieve a goal of some kind, like for example buying a new car, getting a promotion, a nicer house, that it’s more exciting early on, but then we adapt to our new circumstances over time. This adaptation works with unpleasant circumstances too.
Turns out that some of us need a bigger buzz than others, but tend to fall back further, as if to a natural “set-point” happiness level. I think this is borne out by common experience, don’t you?
The other side of the coin is that some of us are just miserable blighters, while others are just naturally cheerful whatever. Dr Ed Diener has written some nice things on this if you want read more http://www.factorhappiness.at/downloads/quellen/S9_Diener.pdf.
And Friday – for most people – opens up two days off the treadmill J