How Many “Likes” Does it Take to be Happy?

“Is your happiness dictated by the sheer number of likes, shares or comments we collect across social media?”

Why do we give so much validity to the acceptance of people we hardly know? If you look at the actual science of happiness you can tie some of the direct responses back to hedonic adaptation.

Ok big words but what in the hell does it really mean?

The Wikipedia break down:

Hedonic adaptation is a process or mechanism that reduces the affective impact of emotional events. Generally, hedonic adaptation involves a happiness “set point”, whereby humans generally maintain a constant level of happiness throughout their lives, despite events that occur in their environment. One of the main concerns of positive psychology is determining how to maintain or raise one’s happiness set point, and further, what kind of practices lead to lasting happiness.

We continually look for these small micro-bursts of interaction as some sort of acceptance. Acceptance creates a level of happiness. This acceptance is short lived, hence the reason we refresh the screen and keep checking our mobile devices by the minute. There is a better term known as the hedonic treadmill.

This desire, need and sometimes obsessiveness we have with checking our social media can be likened to a treadmill. We have great intentions to get in shape and we start walking. Setting the time, speed and resistance to a pace that we feel will generate results.

We build this false sense of need to continually check for updates. It sparks some level of immediate happiness, yet in the long run you will find yourself walking on a an emotional treadmill, simply moving your legs – yet going staying in place.

We are more than a series of algorithms on social media. We are deeper emotionally, spiritually and physically. There is a great quote from Socrates that I find draws parallel to this obsessive need and desire that social media produces.

“The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates

As we examine our own life, there is some sense of satisfaction when we hit that refresh button to see more people have agreed, appreciate or simply “like” what we have to say.


Kolby I The Healthy Primate



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