no return to baseline level of well-being for marriage or for layoffs in men

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the supposed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.
Hedonic adaptation is a process or mechanism that reduces the affective impact of emotional events.
The process of hedonic adaptation is often conceptualized as a treadmill, since one must continually work to maintain a certain level of happiness.

Desensitization decreases sensitivity in general, which reduces sensitivity to change
Sensitization is an increase of hedonic response from continuous exposure, such as the increased pleasure and selectivity of connoisseurs for wine, or food.

everyone returns to the same neutral set point after a significantly emotional life event.

individuals may have more than one happiness set point, such as a life satisfaction set point and a subjective well being set point, and that because of this, one’s level of happiness is not just one given set point but can vary within a given range.

happiness set point can be relatively stable throughout the course of an individual’s life, but the life satisfaction and subjective well being set points are more variable

50% of our happiness levels are determined by genetics

The concept of the happiness set point can be applied in clinical psychology to help patients return to their hedonic set point when negative events happen.

Because acts of kindness often promote long-term well-being, one treatment method is to provide patients with different altruistic activities that can help a person raise his or her hedonic set point

once people were released from prison, they were able to bounce back to their previous level of happiness

a negative life event can have a greater impact on a person’s psychological state and happiness set point than a positive event

people completely adapt, return to their baseline level of well-being, after divorce, losing a spouse, birth of a child, and females losing their job

no return to baseline level of well-being for marriage or for layoffs in men

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill

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