Have you ever felt like walking into the supermarket and buying the biggest chocolate bar they had just to satisfy an urge inside you? Has your sense of self-satisfaction decreased the moment you finished with eating that chocolate bar? Don’t feel alone in this, most people have been there. This is simply seeking short-term happiness.
Short-term happiness refers to a quick-fix or an instant boost in happiness that does not last beyond some time limit. It can go from buying that chocolate bar and consuming it to buying a collection of bags – that you probably won’t wear.
Happiness on the short-term can turn into an addiction; some people seek short-term happiness as a way to feel good about themselves in a shorter amount of time while knowing for sure that they would satisfy their urge to feel happy.
So how does short-term happiness can turn into an addiction? To understand this point, we must first look at how short-term happiness occurs or satisfies whoever seeks it.
Upon outside factors, such as eating that chocolate bar, the brain is triggered to release a dose of dopamine, a hormone responsible for happiness, yet that dose does not last long. Therefore, people chase those small shots of dopamine, thus, resulting in an addictive behavior.
Short-term happiness is not a bad thing, it lets you live the moment to the fullest, yet living for the constant dose of short-term happiness is harmful. It can cause you health issues, such as diabetes or overweight problems, it can cause you financial problems as well, like falling in debt because your happiness is related to buying every pair of shoes you encounter, etc.
On the other hand, we have long-term happiness, that is mostly related with goals in life and achievements. It’s often like wanting a promotion at work or losing weight, and achieving those goals triggers the brain into releasing serotonin, the chemical responsible for long-term happiness, into the entire body. It is believed to help regulate mood, appetite, sleep, etc.
Being an extreme long-term happiness seeker is not always a good thing, some plan their entire lives based on this idea of long-term goals that they forget to live in the moment, thus, feeling constant frustration.
The real reason people go after short-term happiness is because of that instant effect whereas long-term happiness requires hard work and commitment. For example, that promotion that’ll give you long-term happiness requires you to wake up early, head to work, work with your best efforts, and perhaps do some overtime work just to get there.
Balance between short-term and long-term happiness is all you need to feel good about your life without harmful side-effects. Yet, finding that balance is no easy task, it’s a little subjective from one person to another. The general idea is to pursue long-term goals and celebrate achievements while living the moment as well. Don’t hold back in buying that chocolate bar, but workout harder with commitment to burn those calories. Work a job that gives you the sense of achievement of a goal while having bits of happiness on daily basis, such as cheerful coworkers.
In the end, both terms of happiness must be chased interchangeably to satisfy the need of feeling good about your life. Now that you’re aware of which is which, seek how to balance both based on your life.