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Hey guys!

I want to talk to you this week about hedonic adaptation. In case you’re not familiar with the term, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:.
Hedonic adaptation is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

At the bottom of this email, you’ll find 2 links that I think illustrate the point beautifully. The Wait But Why article is one I read several times each year to remind myself of the power and cruelty of hedonic adaptation.

I’ve been thinking about hedonic adaptation this week for 2 reasons. Firstly, I’ve been getting a lot of messages from (mostly) GCSE and A-Level students who are stressed about exams, and feeling the pressure of needing good grades to make university offers in 2021. If I’m ever on the verge of feeling any level of stress about exams, I think about two things - (1) ‘action is the antidote to anxiety’ - I ask myself 'if we had the exam today, which topics would I be unhappy about’ and I tackle those topics in a focused fashion, and thus the action allays the anxiety regarding particular topics. (2) I think that 'even if this doesn’t go well, it’ll have no impact at all on my long-term happiness’. This applies to everything from exams to university places to applying for study abroad programmes to where we’ll end up as lawyers, doctors, etc. Thus, I find that appreciating the power of hedonic adaptation works nicely as an antidote to fear.

Anyway, I hope you have a great week!

PS: Please do email if you have anything to add / any questions. I quite enjoy replying to comments/emails as a source of procrastination from everything that's going on.

PPS: Please email and let me know what you thought of this week's newsletter, if you have a spare few seconds. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what was useful about it and what could be changed. Thanks <3
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About Me

I’m Gareth, a teacher, YouTuber, scientist, and digital marketer from Birmingham, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week - plus a few extra things!
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