Novelty

Spending money and time on what’s new can harm your mental health and your wallet. Try resetting yourself to avoid novelty.
Adam

Written by Adam on September 24, 2016. Updated April 24, 2019.
2 min read. Minimalism. Leave a comment.

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Hedonic adaptation is the tendency for happiness (or sadness) gained too quickly to revert to a person’s normal level over time. The idea is that people have a set point of happiness that they’re at, and permanent changes to it aren’t likely to come from novelty.

phone on table

An example of this is a lottery winner who experiences a rush of happiness but notices it balancing out over time. Or the rush of enjoyment after purchasing a new phone, only to return quickly to familiar levels of happiness.

One of my weaknesses is novelty. This can come in the form of visiting a new restaurant, trying out a new beer, visiting a new city or country, or scouring the web for new things to read. While this isn’t something I’d want to do every day, it’s something that can build, then a lust of that activity emerges. Once satisfied, it quells and the hunger for it goes away. Changing your default consumption behavior takes a choice to do so.

If you’ve ever been on a long trip and just wanted to relax for a while at home, you likely know what I mean.

Reset

The “reset” idea came from a comment on Reddit.

I’d never connected this desire for novelty with hedonic adaptation, but it does share the same happiness gain that builds up — just in a different way. One way to think of these experiences is a “reset”, where the trip, yard work, or other activity is a high or lows which make you appreciate what you have. For me, even a morning workout can help reset the day, and make the rest of it seem that much easier.

There are many ways to do this reset that I would love to someday be more familiar with as well — meditation, yoga and other self-reflection. Whatever your way is of resetting, if you understand how it helps you, it’s easier to make sure it’s a part of your life.

Adam

About Adam

Hi, I'm Adam! I help millennials invest to reach financial independence sooner than they ever thought possible. Want to see what you could do to reach FI sooner? You're in the right place!

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