An in depth and scientific discussion of hedonic adaptation and what one can do to prevent it from taking away happiness all too quickly. The authors introduce model called hedonic adaptation prevention model. A pdf of the whole book chapter is here.
In summary, this book chapter describes what influences individual happiness, the role of intentional activities to increasing or decreasing happiness and the effects of hedonic adaptation. It also discusses in detail the hedonic adaption prevention model which highlights the importance of variety to avoid fast adaptation to positive factors and events in our lives.
One key conclusion the authors draw is: “the notion that varying how one does a “positive” activity may be crucial in determining whether that activity continues to have enhancing effects on peoples’ well-being.” They add “Hedonic adaptation is a powerful counterweight to this possibility, and in order to overcome it, one must continue to vary the positive experiences one has.”
This is a scientific article (or rather chapter of a book) describing studies the authors undertook and backed up with many references to other scientific publications and studies. This is an interesting read for everybody who wants to get an in depth understanding of hedonic adaptation and the role variety plays in preventing it. As well as those who are interested in better understanding the type of work done in the field of happiness research. It is not the easiest read for people unaccustomed to reading scientific literature but definitely worth the effort.
Sheldon, K. M., Boehm, J. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (in press). Variety is the spice of happiness: The hedonic adaptation prevention (HAP) model. In Boniwell, I. & David, S. (Eds.), Oxford handbook of happiness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.