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Back to school! A hedonic fling, or the solution to it?

When summer is over and september comes, quite a few people begin to think of a sort of autumn resolution. Starting something new, something to get them entertained and excited during the forthcoming winter season.

And yes, many think of learning a new language, english for instance, as a way to get that thrill of excitement, that hype.
Despite the joy and fun of something novel, also known as the honeymoon phase, just a few students stay tuned and keep working once the ”all fun and games” feeling fades out.

As a teacher and coach I believe it is important to make students aware of this natural cycle an of the fact that they may just be on a hedonic treadmill.

Never heard of it?

What is better known as Hedonic Adaptation, could be the cause of students giving up after a brief period of happiness, pleasure and enthusiasm (hedonic refers to that) related to what is new and somewhat exotic, followed by a relapse into boredom and need for something new again and again. Basically, despite experiencing positive events or acquiring desirable possessions, our happiness levels tend to return to a stable baseline over time.

Don’t you think this has ever happend to you?

Let me ask you, for how long does a new pair of shoes, holiday, car, or even a promotion or success at work make you genuinely happy?

If these kinds of objects or events had a long-term effect on our wellbeing, our happiness would be constantly compounding, and our baseline happiness levels would steadily increase, right?

Apparently, that is not the case.

In our pursuit of happiness, we often find ourselves caught in a cycle known as the hedonic treadmill.

However, recent research has shown that it is possible to escape deterministic ways of thinking on these topics by focusing our attention on intentional actions that are within our control.
By understanding the mechanisms of hedonic adaptation and engaging in intentional strategies to prevent it, we can elevate our happiness levels and lead more fulfilling lives.

So why not try and learn from the science of happiness and apply it to create a more satisfying learning environment for yourself?

Of all the possible strategies I would suggest Resetting adaptation:
That means positive social comparisons and reflection on the impermanence of things.
Simply try to appreciate anew the benefits we enjoy, just take a step back and reflect on your current situation and progress made versus past. Every little step of the way is what eventually will build a great journey, what you learn every time is what makes you a successful communicator.
The aim is to reset the perspective on what is important.

To wrap it up, my point is that learning english, rather that being just a fling, could be a tool to unlock future potential that would otherwise be out of your reach. This perspective is what can make it a great ally in stepping out of the hedonic vortex, a more long term happiness. Perhaps.

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