Hedonistic Adaptation

image Thank to Paul Goates for mentioning this earlier today at Toastmasters and giving me the idea. I’d heard of Stoicism before, but was not aware of Marcus Aurelius was one of the most important Stoic philosophers. I had always envisioned Sir Winston Churchill as the embodiment of Stoicism. Which to me is true, but it goes back to a much earlier time.

Negative Visualization

Part of Hedonistic Adaptation is to use negative visualization. You might be saying … wait!  I thought it was best to think of things in positive terms? While this is true for many things the use of negative visualization also has it’s advantages.

The examples Paul used today were:

  • Your House – What if you did not have a roof over your head?
  • Your Spouse – How would your life be different without them?
  • Your Kids – What if you couldn’t tuck your kids in at night?

The key point of this visualization is to help you realize and appreciate what you have. The Hedonistic Adaptation element of this is that you don’t need to indulge to excess – yet can still feel very happy and satisfied.

The Happiness Project

image As I did a little more research on this I found out one of my favorite bloggers and tweeters – Gretchen Rubin – had a take on Hedonistic Adaptation in her blog and it seems there are some aspects of this in her upcoming book “The Happiness Project

How will you put Negative Visualization to work?

What will you think about before you go to bed? What will you appreciate in the morning? How will you show that appreciation?

I really do want to hear whether this method works for you. Please feel free to post a comment here and share your experiences.


Jen W said…
Wow, That's really interesting. I'll try and do that today. It sure makes you appreciate a lot more. ~Jen W.
Gretchen said…
Hi Jeff-
I saw the nice mention of my blog, The Happiness Project, here. I very much appreciate those kind words and you shining a spotlight on my blog. Thanks and best wishes, Gretchen Rubin
abcdefg1275 said…
Jeff, Great Blog. I am glad that I served as a spark. I liked your summary very much and will pick up Ms. Rubin's Blog and book "The Happiness Project" (very intriguing title, by the way). The older we get, the more I think happiness is a decision is engrained from our mental habits.

Another fascinating blog for another day could be those who are only happy when they are miserable and the psychology behind it.