Get Real With The English Sisters - Mind Health Anxiety

Finding Happiness Beyond the Hedonic Treadmill

January 16, 2024 The English Sisters - Violeta & Jutka Zuggo Episode 101
Get Real With The English Sisters - Mind Health Anxiety
Finding Happiness Beyond the Hedonic Treadmill
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever chased after happiness like it's a destination, only to find it's more of a journey? Join us and the English Sisters as we unpack the hedonic treadmill, the sneaky psychological phenomenon that keeps our happiness levels in check despite life's ups and downs. We're peeling back the curtain on the fleeting thrill of new purchases and life changes, revealing why that shiny new car or the dream house might not hold the key to long-lasting contentment. Get ready to discover strategies that could help you step off this relentless cycle and cultivate a deeper, more enduring state of joy from within.

It's not just about the big wins; sometimes, the most profound contentment comes from life's small joys. In this heartfelt conversation, we reminisce about the pure delight of moon-gazing and the excitement of anticipation that punctuates our daily lives. The English Sisters share how treasuring these moments and embracing human connection can lead to a more fulfilling existence. Let's toast to the importance of supportive touches, meaningful conversations, and the irreplaceable warmth of a heartfelt hug. Tune in for an enriching discussion that might just inspire you to rediscover the overlooked treasures of your everyday life and find happiness in the places you least expect.

Hypnotherapy coaching sessions can help if you are struggling with anxiety.  Please email us at englishsisters@gmail.com if you would like help with an issue, mentioning this episode of our podcast for a special discounted rate. We work with clients worldwide over Zoom or Skype. Buy our Book Stress Free in Three Minutes available on Amazon and Kindle, to help support our work. Thank you!

Please follow us and make this podcast a healthy habit for you, your family and friends to listen to weekly by sharing this with as many people as you can!
Thank you!
Love and smiles from The English Sisters.

As always we love to here from you please email us with; Get Real with The English Sisters as the subject, at englishsisters@gmail.com

Watch the show on our YouTube  Channel
Follow us on Social Media
Share this podcast with your friends.


Apple Podcasts
Spotify
YouTube Channel
Follow us on Social Media

Speaker 1:

Are you always chasing happiness? That's what we're going to be talking about today the hedonic treadmill, exactly. It's going to be an interesting episode Because you'll find out that chasing happiness isn't always the right way to go, is it? Well, no, and the fact is that perhaps the more you have does not necessarily I mean, this is going to sound obvious the more you have it's not necessarily going to give you that much joy. But the hedonic treadmill, in psychology, is an interesting thing, I think, for everyone to understand. So that's what we're going to be talking about what it actually means to be on this treadmill that most of the time, we're all on. So welcome to this episode of Get Real With the English Sisters, right? So what is this hedonic treadmill, palava? I mean in psychology.

Speaker 1:

The hedonic treadmill is a psychological theory that suggests that humans have a tendency to return to a relatively stable level of happiness or subjective well-being despite changes in their circumstances or external conditions. So let's put that in normal language yes, let's, let's you say you do it. I think you know the definition of this. For example, if we want to give a few examples, is like let's say that we've been dreaming of buying a new house Exactly the first day we enter the house and you're OK, maybe a bit of a, you know, take a few days to get used to it and do all. Let's put all that aside, all the you know, the moving Palava. But once that's all over and we get in, we have this sense of joy and we might be looking at the tall ceilings and think, yes, this house is gorgeous, it's beautiful, it's just what I wanted. But then the days pass and the more and more that we become accustomed to that house, the less joy we feel and it's difficult to get back to that initial joy. That's super happiness, the super happiness, that novel feeling of oh wow, I love this house, for example. Or I love this new car, and every time you go in it gives you joy, when you're driving it or when you enter it.

Speaker 1:

Same goes for relationships. It just kind of starts seeing the problems, like that the drains don't work or that the front door's cranky. Yeah, you also start noticing more of the problems. It's a bit like, you know, when you're first in love. They say love is blind. Exactly, you do start noticing the problem.

Speaker 1:

The fact is, this hedonic treadmill theory suggests that we will go back to whatever our baseline was so no matter. So, in simple terms, when we feel that something will give us great joy and happiness, it doesn't really Exactly, it's only, it's like an illusion, it's only temporary. Our own happiness has to come from within, yes, and we always have to be like in that base state of like being okay and happy. Yeah, we can't be fooled by thinking, if I get this new job, this new house, this new whatever it is, a new boyfriend, girlfriend, no, no, you will. Unfortunately, according to this theory and I do believe it's true because it has been proven, and I think if we all think about it, we can notice that in our own experiences, that it is like that, and we notice how familiar it is, how soon it passes, like the desire Say like, if you get your new car, then you're driving it. Yes, I mean, I still. I'm not like that because I still love my car, but perhaps that's because your hedonic treadmill, whatever it is, is yes, you may not be on it. You may have managed a way of getting off it, which is what we're going to be discussing afterwards.

Speaker 1:

How the hell do we get off this treadmill? Is it really possible, or are we destined to go back to our baseline, so that if we tend to be people that are not generally very happy and we don't seem to see the good in life much, then we'll go back to being like that, whether we live in a beautiful house or we drive a gorgeous car, whatever it is we're going to. Are we really destined to go back to that grumpy state or can we change? Well, I think the answer against us, because of the way society has created this wanting for new things, that the way we're marketed to. You're right. It's like you have this new shiny thing and you're going to be okay, you're going to feel good. Everything is tied to emotions and feelings.

Speaker 1:

Now, all the marketing stuff is tied to how we feel. They try and fool you into thinking you get that new necklace, you have that new car, you get the new house, you have your whatever. You're going to feel good. Yeah, yeah, so true, so true, but it's not really true, is it? You're going to go back to what your baseline was, the baseline being the state you were in before you got that new thing. So I think that once you're aware of that, if you think about this, okay, this is going to make me really happy. I really, really want this. I really want it.

Speaker 1:

First of all, do you want it, or are you being marketed, like what you said? Is this some kind of a scam, in a way, to make you believe that you're going to be happy, but you're not. Once you've got it, you're going to feel the same way. This is what shopaholics feel like. A lot of the time, they even feel worse, but that's another case. This is we're talking about something very dramatic here. Yeah, these are just everyday things, situations that we all fall into this trap.

Speaker 1:

How the hell do we get off it? You have to cut the ties, you have to unplug that treadmill. You have to realise you're on it in the first place, because I think if you don't know you're running on it, you'll never fully understand. You'll just know that deep inside, there's something missing. It's kind of like something that you can never quite get, and like what you say, we are marketed towards that to make sure that we're always going to feel there's something missing. There's always going to be something missing, always missing.

Speaker 1:

You have a girl? No, now, oh, are you going to get pregnant again? You want to get a boy, because that's kind of like, oh, that'd be ideal. Then, once you do get a girl and a boy, you're thinking why aren't I the happiest person alive? This is what I wanted, is that really what you wanted? Or are you on that treadmill and then you're going to go back to how you felt at the beginning, but in this case it's quite. You know, they're very, very important decisions, like the decision I've just said about having kids. You know, having a baby, but that is often the case as well, isn't it?

Speaker 1:

I just think that the more that you want, the less happy you are, and the less you want, the more happy you are. The more that you want, the less happy you are, and the less you want, the more happy you are. It's the opposite. Yeah, the more you want, the less attached you are to having stuff or things or wanting certain things for yourself in your life. The less attached you are, the more happier and more okay you're going to be feeling. The more that you desire and want and see you in that state, even if you get that, the less happy you're going to be, because you're always going to go back to that wanting state of desire, because you're in a state of wanting. It's almost like a state of addiction. It's almost like a kind of addictive behaviour. Yeah, that's so true.

Speaker 1:

So once we're aware of this, once we're aware that we're on this treadmill, we've got to get off it. How do we get off it? By being aware. I guess by being aware and being mindful and being appreciative of how you're already feeling and how you already are. And then when you ask yourself I'll be happy when I get that house, or I'll be happy when you need to realise that that's an illusion. You won't be happy when you get that house. So the famous phrase, I'll be happy when is a dangerous one, very, very dangerous, and you might not even actually say that out loud, you might just think it in your head often. And if you're thinking, oh yeah, I'm one of those people that do think that a lot, then be aware of it. Be aware, because not necessarily I'll be happy when is a forever chase. And that really is the treadmill that we were talking about.

Speaker 1:

And you have to go within yourself and maybe work on yourself as well. Work on why you feel a certain way and why you can't feel like pleasure just from the small things in life, like going for a walk in nature or having a cup of coffee or tea, or appreciating that when you turn the tap on this water, or that you've got electricity in your house, these are all basic things, but when we start to be more in the moment and feel appreciative of that, oh so it's the opposite of the hedonic adaptation, which literally means that you just get used to your surroundings so much so that you no longer see them or value them as important, exactly. Yeah, well, I've read this. This hedonic adaptation is thought to occur in part because of the repetition of experiences. So if you see the same beautiful vista every day, perhaps, or having the same kind of interactions with a friend or partner, one potential way to keep happiness from fading is to mix up the elements of one's positive experiences so that they are less repetitive, just trying to appreciate these experiences by paying attention to them. I guess, like if you always see, it's like me when I tell my husband to come and look at the moon.

Speaker 1:

I know I'm a bit obsessed with the moon, but every time he says I've seen it, I say I mean that is the hedonic adaptation, isn't it? Yeah, I mean that is no, I've seen it once it's. Yeah, I know it's gorgeous. I can't be bothered to go outside, literally step outside in the garden and admire this beauty. It's cold, isn't it? Yeah, even the summer it's not cold, is it? No, no, because we're here in Italy and it's lovely summer nights. Yes, it's a mosquito's coming by. It's always something that, because in his mind it's the same old, same old. I've seen it, been there, done it. That's it's not going to give me any more joy, but somehow it gives me joy. It does. It's so beautiful.

Speaker 1:

So I seem to have managed to maybe get off that treadmill or just see things differently. I mean, he obviously gets joy from other things, I don't know, yeah, which we won't go into, no, but yes, it is interesting. Well, he always wants to move, doesn't he? Yeah, he does want to move, and it will be a five in a fancy, I think it would be. Yeah, you're right, he's always changing. Let's move houses, let's go here. He's always had that. He's searching for something that's going to give him that thrill, that pleasure. Yeah, yeah, so true, yeah, and his podcast could be all about him.

Speaker 1:

I guess we can all relate it to someone that we know. I think we're all a bit like that. We all feel as if we could be a bit like that. But I think you know you can either go the opposite and they never want to update anything or do anything like you, because you can say it's all a waste of time and money. But that also is a bit negative, I think, because it's like almost a lack of self-care. Yeah, not looking after yourself, not keeping up with the things. We know that our environment can make us happy. So if we look after our environment and do good and put things in elements that give us pleasure, it's going to affect our psychological well-being.

Speaker 1:

So, by neglecting our environment, I just bought a new phone and I didn't really think I needed it because I've been like battling with the old one with space and storage and things like that, but I just thought it's fine, it still works. Yeah, I don't want to. You know I'm not bothered. But then it was Christmas so I thought, oh, wow, you know, get something. And it's been amazing because, like I mean, I would drop loads stuff really quickly. It doesn't keep saying one ounce space.

Speaker 1:

But you can go the other way. You're still appreciating it today. Yes, absolutely, you know time has passed. I'm still appreciating it today, but it can also be the other way, when you just feel as if you don't just don't want anything anymore and you just think everything's a waste of time and that's also not. I don't think that's healthy either.

Speaker 1:

No, no, there's always a happy medium. Yeah, there's a happy medium. Yeah, you've got there, you're right. Yeah, you want to take care of yourself, take care of your environment, and and having things that give you pleasure is okay. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just watching out for the fact that if you said the new phone will make me happy, then obviously you probably would be happy. You open it, look shiny, oh, wow, this is brilliant, it's got this space and that. But how long is that happiness going to last? Then you're going to be thinking about something else. It does give you joy. It gives you a moment, tenorally joy. It's like winning the gold medal. If we speak to any Olympic winners, they always say that. They say I won the gold medal. How long does the happiness last? About five, ten minutes. Then I go on to the next thing. Yes, then I want to win this and win that.

Speaker 1:

I think it's more about the journey, isn't it? Yes, it's more about enjoying each day. It's a bit like Father Christmas. Why did you love Father Christmas so much? Because he would only come once a year when you were a kid and it was all the thrill and waiting for it if you were lucky enough to get gifts. You know, we were, and luckily, I mean. Our mum and dad made great sacrifices to buy us what we wanted all year round. It was literally saving pennies to get us the toys we wanted, but then they were so appreciated when they arrived, because it does take a whole year basically, which in like kids terms, is like an eternity. Yeah. So if you, if you wait for things, you're going to be more appreciative.

Speaker 1:

I do think that waiting is not a bad idea either. So, like, if you think this new car, yeah, you have this kind of a bit, like you know, you want to do things really quickly, perhaps taking a step back and thinking, yeah, slowing down is good. Slowing down it's like you're not going to eat a giant muffin you know a big one or you can have like six small ones and eat the same amount of cake throughout the day, but in small quantities. That's going to give you probably more joy than just scoffing the large muffin at 11 am, but knowing that you have lots of little treats are the same, yeah, you know, as that big cake. You're going to have small little joys throughout your day. Ultimately, it's going to give you more joy, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it would to me, because I know I've got lots of little things at the same size. You like a little squirrel, aren't you? Well, I just think that kind of gives me joy because I think about it and I think, oh, I've got that. Yeah, you know, since I've got a sweet tooth I'm thinking of in sweet, in cakey things. You know cake things, but other people might have, you know, other, whatever you like, you know, yeah, it's like moderation. Then, well, it's like moderation.

Speaker 1:

I think that's not a bad tip either is to think, yeah, take a step back and then maybe do it in smaller sizes, like bites, literally, whatever you want to go for. So, instead of buying a big house by a little one Well, I don't know if I'm buying a little one, but you can. Well, maybe. Yeah, but you would probably be just as happy with a novel environment. Yeah, you probably don't need the space that you think you need or the house that you think you need in order to make you happy. Yes, the size garden you think is whatever it is, the flat that you believe would be ideal for you. Maybe you don't really need that, and we know that you don't, because there are people that live in really tiny, tiny places and they're just as happy. Yeah, they're fine. They're just as happy, really, because happiness and being OK comes from within in the end, doesn't it?

Speaker 1:

You already have to be there, but where does it get there in the first place? How does it develop? How does it develop? Develops over years and years. It's like skin, I think it's like exercise. You have to exercise the muscle of happiness, flex it. So you have to look for little joys, little things in your day. I could chat with a friend, you know, things that are free. It's a little muffin theory or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's little that are going to make you happy, absolutely yeah, looking for the small joys, looking for the small joys in life? Yeah, because they're the real joys. Well, they're the ones that are going to make you feel good. They're the ones that says I'm happy, I got that massive house. No, they look for people they love. They look for people they love.

Speaker 1:

You look for connection and you want to be with people that you love, you want a hand to hold, and with your pet yeah, or a pet to hold you want connection ultimately. So maybe that's the secret, then connection, well, yes, connection is what keeps people being OK. That'll get you off the treadmill. So, if you see connection, yeah, definitely, seek a hand to hold, seek someone to hug, seek, yeah, seek connection. Let us know what you think about this week's episode of Get Real with English Sisters, and please do go and leave a five star review wherever you get your podcast, and we look forward to hearing from you on YouTube, too, where you can see us in the video version. In the video, yeah, that's right. Thank you so much for listening and watching, and Smiles from the English Sisters. Bye, bye.

The Hedonic Treadmill
Finding Joy in Small Joys
The Importance of Connection