This weekend (Jan 28 2023 Weekend) we decided to fly into Bozeman Montanna and check out Big Sky. The weather conditions indicated POWDERY POWDER SNOW – up to 10 inches of snow in fact. The weather predictions were corrected
It was buttery smoooooth — as seen at the end of this M2 Pro WoW video ;P
However, with this powder, there was optimism — landing can’t hurt because the power will be soft to fall in.
Long story short, Michelle had a nasty fall – the snowboard got caught in the power going fairly quick and… unfortuantely looks like she fractured her ankle.. OUCH
I’ve had my fair share of injuries – and I’m sure you the reader has as well – but I wanted to somehow segment this injury to an interesting effect that humans have – the Hedonic Treadmill
What is the Hedonic Treadmill
Great question – NEXT QUESTION
Pretty simple definition – but lets relate it back to Michelles Injury, your life, my life – and how knowing this can hopefully help towards this blogs intended goal – Increase your happiness, Achieve Eudaimonia
Currently, Michelle can’t walk, needs to use crutches, and the walking boot is of no use because the ankle hurts so much 🙁 🙁 🙁
In my own injuries – from both my ankles, to my shoulders – I’ve been in similar helpless feelings and situations. Level 3 sprain on my left ankle, couldn’t walk for weeks. An ankle sprain to my right ankle back in high school when I was trying out for Lacrosse. I asked my coach if I could skip tryouts… no such luck — and had to load up on drugs to make the team.
Or more recently – fell on a snow mogul and I injured my left shoulder. Still hurts to this day after weeks of Physical Therapy.
Yet despite going through those injured times – thinking about how much it sucks, your mind and body will do what it usually does… reach a baseline of happiness and continue on with those setbacks. For most people, when injured, you’ll notice how inconvenient it is – the struggle of using crutches, the pain when trying to move. Yet over time, you’ll get used to it – and it wont bother you how much it sucks. Eventually – your body will recover, maybe not to 100% – but your mind will make you reach your baseline happiness and you’ll continue on.
When going through “lows” like an injury – this Hedonic Treadmill is a good thing from my perspective. You won’t be depressed too long, you’ll get back to hopefully having a positive attitude (if that’s what your baseline is) and you’ll look at the bright side of things. (Hopefully)
Referring back to my first article : you’ll appreciate things — your body more. Appreciate that (if you are reading this as a normal bodied person) – you can walk with no pain. Can get up and down stairs. Can hike mountains. Can run. You can pick up heavy things and place them where you need them to be. You can put on things with no pain!
Hopefully on reflecting on that if you are currently a “healthy able bodied person” — you can reflect back on a time you were injured – and practice that gratitude for your body going through the healing process and allowing you to enjoy the simple pleasures in life that you enjoy doing.
Leveraging the Hedonic Treadmill for happiness
Besides the examples I wrote of utilizing it appropriately when you are injured, you can also reflect back on a time you were injured and go through gratitude exercises to appreciate what you have now.
An aspect I wanted to also touch on – is that your brain will also bring you back to baseline if/when you get “too happy”
Think about my own happiness and situations – I’d like to invite you to think of similar situations I have experienced.
- You get a raise – its awesome you needed more money and you’ll get it now
- You win poker, or something in gambling. The high of gambling
- You win a video game – dota , league of legends, WoW – you beat the raid. Pick your poision. The high of the achievement and beating the enemy team
- You hit a PR on your running time or you hit a PR in your lifting. Its awesome.
All these ideas or examples have happened to me… but after a while the high of winning runs out. You can’t just keep having that “peak happiness” … and on reflection nor do I think you should aim to necessarily. Humans need Contrast.
In my opinion – with Michelle being injured, this contrast of being injured can help with the her baseline happiness and appreciate being healthy.
For myself or you the reader in any “peak happy” experience you may have – you can realize it was awesome, hopefully not fall into “chasing that high” and appreciate your journey for what it was – and that fleeting experience.
On a more productive note – I think you can leverage this idea on concepts from this book : The One Thing
In that book – and any other self improvement book – they just say – GET BETTER – just BE BETTER. One aspect that I thought The One Things also adds to this concept – is that usually when trying to improve your life conditions – the effort is usually the same.
Expanding on that in simple terms and tying in the Hedonic Treadmill concept (hopefully, I’m just writing train of thought ideas onto this WordPress blog) – is that you WILL get used to the difficulty of taking on new job roles, or you WILL get used to the difficulty of going to the gym early in the morning. Essentially, just as the brain brings you back to baseline – even if you are “doing more work” your brain will just make it seem like any other day – what you were used to doing.
As you get used to it – the “effort” or perceived effort is the same – and you can get that 1% improvement concept all the self help folks talk about.
Easy to write on paper – but see if it works for yourself. Also keep in mind – being more productive or better won’t make you feel happier. Because of the Hedonic Treadmill effect – you may just feel the same. But thats ok – because hopefully you can relate or translate the productivity into units that can help improve your life or others – like more money, or more time to hangout and do things. I’m still searching for those translation points myself – but hopefully by writing it out and opening up the discussion to readers online – it can help others in need.