The hedonic treadmill

After another fascinating weekend at UEL learning about positive psychology applications – in the workplace, school and community – we have learnt how important it is to have a varied and engaging series of interventions to have real impact. This is because of the hedonic treadmill – people get ‘used to’ undertaking gratitude diaries, or acts of appreciation and, after the initial warm glow, the impact is diminished. Having an element of surprise is critical to our pleasure. If we went to our favourite restaurant and ordered the same favourite meal every time, we would not experience the same enjoyment as when we took our first bite.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t persist with positive interventions…. just that there needs to be more than one and we should build in an element of surprise. Tomorrow try standing by the door of your office to greet everyone in your team as they enter for work. And next time you’re at your favourite restaurant, order something different on the menu… you might just enjoy it more than you expect.