Splurges Make Us Happy
It’s not worth trying to beat adaptation—we can try to stall or fight it, but in the end we always lose, according to a study by researchers Daniel Gilbert of Harvard University, Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, and Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia. This is why you may try to stay excited about your new job, iPad, or vacation as long as you possibly can, but eventually the sheen will wear off. And you will need a raise, a new model, or a better trip to get you feeling excited again.
Adaptation isn’t anything to feel badly about—it’s human, and apparently unavoidable. The best bet is to, well, adapt to adaptation. We should accept it as a part of our reality, and in fact, we can capitalize on the fact that we can give our own happiness a boost with periodic indulgences. In fact, these spurts of delight are what keep us going through life’s less stimulating plateaus (like working and, um, sticking to a budget).