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The Average Tuesday (& Hedonic Adaptation) – Nerdful Mind #117

April 10, 2022 by Simon Mannes

The appeal of everything wears off at some point.

That raise you got, the bigger home, that new video game. You enjoy it for a few days or weeks, but then you just get used to having it in your life.

This is known as hedonic adaptation:

Generally, hedonic adaptation involves a happiness "set point", whereby humans generally maintain a constant level of happiness throughout their lives, despite events that occur in their environment. The process of hedonic adaptation is often conceptualized as a treadmill, since no matter how hard one tries to gain an increase in happiness, one will remain in the same place.

So how happy we are in life does not rely on singular events. Our happiness in life is how happy we are on the average Tuesday. That's our happiness set point.

There's a wonderful article from Wait But Why, “Life is a Picture, But You Live in a Pixel”. Read it, if you haven't already. He calls it the “mundane Wednesday”:

So while thousands of Jack’s Todays will, to an outsider from far away, begin to look like a complete picture, Jack spends each moment of his actual reality in one unremarkable Today pixel or another. Jack’s error is brushing off his mundane Wednesday and focusing entirely on the big picture, when in fact the mundane Wednesday is the experience of his actual life.

So how can we become happier, sustainably? Here are a few methods that can work for you:

  • Be kind to others and do nice things without expecting anything in return
  • Practice gratitude, e.g. with a gratitude journal
  • Regularly spend time with people you like
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Meditate

We quickly adapt to the big things in life. It's the small, everyday actions that bring us lasting happiness.

Reading Recommendations

16 Types of Meditation

“In addition to helping us find calmness and mental quiet, these meditation techniques also help improve feelings of well-being, happiness, and empathy for others. But which type of meditation is best for you?”

Your Set Point for Happiness

“The set point for happiness is psychological term that describes our general level of happiness. Each of us has a different set point—some have a high set point, meaning we are mostly happy; some of have a low set point, meaning we are mostly unhappy; while others fall somewhere in between.”

Book Review: Software Engineering At Google

“All articles, processes, and tools, described in the book, are written only as an experience of one particular company. It may be applicable to your situation, but in most cases - not. Not so many companies on the market, which operates on the same scale as Google. But anyway, just by reading about the challenges and how these challenges are analyzed and overcome, it helped me to think over challenges in our product and what I can do in order to solve it.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

One key to happiness is being grateful for what you already have.

Take 5 minutes today and write down as many things you are grateful for as possible. What do you appreciate?

If you do this for a few weeks, you'll notice patterns of what makes you grateful (and you'll be happier).

End Note

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Have a great week

Simon

PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!

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