Week 4 of the Happiness Club brings some new ideas to the table related to hedonic adaptation and how to thwart it. Hedonic adapation is the idea that everyone ultimately gets used to the things that they have, be it relationships or things or personalities, and this leads to a miscalculation about their happiness.
The podcast offers a contrasting view on solitude that may be surprising to the introverts (such as myself) of the world.
Rewirements this week include: sleep 7+ hours a night and get 30 min of exercise.
Science of Well-Being: Week 4
Understand that experiential purchases are a better investment than material ones
Give examples of intentional activities you can do to overcome cognitive biases and improve your mood
Practice healthy habits like exercising for 30 minutes a day and getting over 7 hours of sleep a night
- Exercise - 30+ minutes a day
- Sleep - 7+ hours a night
Part 1 - Rethink ‘Awesome Stuff’
Dr. Santos demonstrates that investing in experiences leads to more satisfaction and helps to eliminate the annoying habit of social comparison. She shows research that other people also like being around the types of people who invest in experiences over material things and have higher opinions of them.
Part 2 - Thwart Hedonic Adaptation
includes: retelling the experience to others, seeking people to share the moment with, being completely in the moment (flow)
envision the ways that things could have gone wrong which would have stopped certain things from happening (relationship, college acceptance, etc). The idea is we realize all of the ways that we should be thankful that events led us to this particular event/person.
Make this day your last
think about how life would be if you didn’t have certain things, draws your attention to what you enjoy about the good things in our life.
write down 5 things you are thankful for each week, increases overall happiness, exercise, expectations of the coming week.
Part 3 - Reset Reference Points
Really see what the other half is like (grass is greener on the other side). Realize that fantasies are not always what we expect.
Can re-experience things that you didn’t notice before (ex: after getting used to new job with better salary, go back to trying to live at old salary to remember what life was like).
Avoid social comparison
Dr. Santos on social media:
which is just called the Stop Technique, which is that sometimes you can be mindful and catch yourself doing these comparisons and you need to give your brain a moment to just like shut it up and tell it, it’s not supposed to be doing that anymore. And so, here’s the technique. You’re like looking through a Snapchat feed and you’re like, “Oh man, Joe is having such awesome weekend.” And you notice yourself doing that. You have a moment where you notice you’re making this comparison, you just out loud literally say, “Stop!” And that causes your brain to take a moment to be like, wait, it’s not the habitual thing you tend to do as your comparisons are working. And so it sort of forces you to do a stop think on things. And it sounds a little crazy but if you can be in that mode where you’re catching yourself doing this, you’re catching your own evaluations being about what other people are doing as opposed to absolutely about your own worth and your stuff, you force yourself to do a stop think. Sometimes that can have a powerful effect on breaking those kinds of connections.
In other words you have control over what gets in, but once its in we have a hard time not making comparisons.
She also says to just get rid of social media accounts.
Ex: commercials on TV actually make the show seem better because the show is more enjoyable than the commercials so we have a spike in happiness every time the show comes back. This effect is not seen when watching the same show without commercial breaks. Split a cupcake in half and eat it at two different times rather than all at once.
Flipping this around, if we WANT to adapt to something that we don’t enjoy (homework, tedious task, etc) then it is best to do in a large chunks so that our experience follows the trend from large negative spike reverting to the norm.
Breaks up the hedonic adaptation and also interrupts consumption. We tend to get into routines and lose variety and thus things become more boring to us.
Happiness Lab: Ep. 4 - Mistakenly Seeking Solitude
Episode 4: Mistakenly Seeking Solitude
Technology allows us to bank, shop and dine without talking to another human, but what toll is this taking on our happiness? The inventor of the ATM and the Talking Heads singer David Byrne join Dr Laurie Santos to explore the ways in which talking to strangers can bring us all genuine joy.