A woman seductively looking at her reflection in a mirror.

What is the hedonic treadmill? How can you get out of the cycle of constantly chasing after more?

The hedonic treadmill is a behavioral pattern where people chase after happiness but never feel content or satisfied once they get what they want. To get off the treadmill, you have to slow down and practice gratitude and appreciation for the simple things in life.

Take a look at how to approach your own negative patterns.

The Hedonic Treadmill

There is a pattern of behavior commonly called the hedonic treadmill: People chase after something they think will make them happy, enjoy a moment of pleasure when they get it, then start chasing the next thing in order to recapture that feeling. It’s referred to as a treadmill because people constantly “run” after happiness but always end up in the same place emotionally. 

There are many tools that people can use to help themselves get off the treadmill. A few examples are:

Ask “Do I need this?” When you’re considering buying something, you should pause for a moment and ask if it’s something you need or just something you want. Another way to approach this is to consider whether it’s going to help him in some way; if so, then it may be a need, but if not, then it’s only a want.

Practice gratitude. Instead of thinking about what you want to buy or experience next, remember and appreciate what you already have. Examples might include your health, your family and friends, your job, your home, and your accomplishments.

Find pleasure in simple things. Happiness doesn’t always require money or a lot of effort. Instead of chasing after expensive items and intense experiences, indulge in the simple pleasure of taking a walk or watching your favorite TV show.

What Is the Hedonic Treadmill and How Do You Get Off?

Becca King

Becca’s love for reading began with mysteries and historical fiction, and it grew into a love for nonfiction history and more. Becca studied journalism as a graduate student at Ohio University while getting their feet wet writing at local newspapers, and now enjoys blogging about all things nonfiction, from science to history to practical advice for daily living.

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