We actually feel less happy. When we do not have to struggle with real meaningful survival-based challenges, we seek for happiness in pleasurable activities. This behavior leads to hedonic behavior and the search for ever-greater stimulation. It is the hedonic treadmill, where we have to engage in ever more pleasurable activities to feel the same amount of satisfaction. At the same time, our capacity to deal with challenges decreases and we become less mentally resilient.
Pleasure without effort leads to negative side-effects, like desensitizing us to the effects of dopamine. Only when we have to struggle in order to obtain something pleasurable are we in balance from a neurological point of view.
Our lives are comfortable. We all like it and it's really cool what we can do, this certainly must be good long-term!
- Resensitization to the effect of dopamine
- Greater pleasure can be derived from just being, without any special stimulation or activity
- Mindfulness becomes easier, as we are happy in our natural state.
- We can overcome challenges more easily because we accustom ourselves to difficult and painful experiences on a regular basis.
- Strenuous activities become more meaningful and pleasurable again
- We feel that we are in balance because our pleasurable experiences don't leave us in a void afterwards, that needs to be filled again with another dopamine hit.
- Meditation and present awareness become enjoyable.
- A minimalistic lifestyle becomes natural and the need for material possessions is lower.
- Overall greater life enjoyment as we raise our baseline level of happiness over time.
- A sense of meaning of our existence can emerge more easily.