How to Make Your Post-Pandemic Happiness Last

Just think back to how quickly we adapted to all of the stressful changes the pandemic brought on. But we adapt to positive life changes too, in a process called “hedonic adaptation.” (You may also have heard it referred to as the “hedonic treadmill.”) This is the force that helps explain why even lottery winners eventually return to the same level of happiness they were at prior to winning a gigantic pot of free money. (Same with getting a new car, a new house, or moving to a new city.) But UC Riverside social psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., who studies human happiness, says there are reasons to be hopeful about holding on to your post-pandemic buzz. “One thing to keep in mind is that adaptation is often incomplete,” she says. “Just because you adapt to something doesn’t mean you adapt 100%.” Which also means that there are things you can actively do to stay happy.

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