Hedonic treadmill is also known as hedonic adaption. The concept of hedonic treadmill deals with human emotions and how some people are unable to achieve complete happiness even after achieving wealth or their goals. Instead, people who experience hedonic treadmill remain in a relatively stable mood but do not experience an overwhelming sense of happiness and sustain it from that point on. For example, let’s say a person sets out to achieve wealth and believes that wealth will bring them happiness but once they achieve the wealth they feel exactly the same, no permanent feeling of happiness.
The term was first coined in 1971 by Brickman and Campbell. It is a term used to explain that wealth does not necessarily bring happiness and the rich are not necessarily happier than those with less money. It explains a condition in which people are constantly wishing for more than they have and never truly happy with what they have. Good or bad fortune may temperarily affect a person with hedonic treadmill’s mood but ultimately the person will go back to their normal level of happiness.
The hedonic treadmill concept refers to the observation that people tend to remain at the same level of contentment despite any changes in fortune or personal achievement. Humans are notoriously terrible at predicting what will make them happy, and many believe that being wealthier and/or more accomplished will ultimately make them happier people. Earning more money or achieving a goal may temporarily make someone feel happier and more at ease, but in the same way that an addict must continue to use drugs in order to feel as though he is benefiting, people who believe that more wealth will make them happier are rarely satisfied with what they have, leaving them feeling the same as when they were less fortunate.
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