Hedonic adaptation refers to a tendency to return to a stable level of happiness. Despite significant positive or negative changes in their lives. Hedonic reversal, conversely, refers more to well-being after a positive change.
There are no studies where hedonic reversal has been definitively proven. It is, therefore, a complex and multi-layered concept that is still being researched. However, various studies and approaches have contributed to understanding hedonic adaptation and reversal.
One well-known study on hedonic adaptation is the “Easterlin paradox”. It is named after the economist Richard Easterlin. The paradox states that wealthier people tend to be happier than poorer people. There is no correlation between national wealth and average national happiness across nations. This finding suggests that people's level of happiness adapts to their circumstances. It leads to a fixed point of joy that cannot be changed.
Another influential study is the theory of happiness. It assumes that every person has a genetically determined basic level of enjoyment. Everybody returns over time, regardless of external circumstances. However, more recent research has questioned this idea. They pointed out that this is not the only factor, although happiness has a genetic component. Much more can be done actively to increase personal well-being.
Hedonic reversal, or ‘positive psychology', is a field of research promoting positive emotions. Relationships and experiences to improve overall well-being. Thus, positive psychology interventions such as gratitude impact happiness and satisfaction.
Small, daily actions that contribute to long-term goals can also be practical. These are tools for promoting hedonistic reversal. People can make lasting changes by practising positive behaviours, even in small steps. Taking a daily walk or practising mindfulness contributes to happiness. It nourishes personal fulfilment over time.
Many psychologists and well-being experts emphasise the importance of intrinsic goals, such as personal growth and relationships. It contributes to something bigger than your personality. To conclude, you should concentrate on more than extrinsic goals such as wealth or status. Research has also shown that people prioritising intrinsic goals are happier. Many times, they are more fulfilled in the long term.
Within mysticism, traditional spiritual and religious groups emphasise the importance of gratitude. They are also working on a sense of connection on the personal path to happiness and well-being. Practices such as meditation and charity contribute to a sense of inner peace.
Overall, hedonic adaptation is a complex and multi-layered concept. Nevertheless, many strategies and approaches can help people experience a hedonic conversion. In addition, it improves well-being. Personal happiness and life satisfaction can be influenced by focusing on intrinsic goals. They are applying positive psychology interventions and building micro-habits into daily life.