Can you remember the last time you dreamed of buying a new car, getting a promotion, moving to a nicer house or winning the lottery? Can you remember how happy you thought you would be if you attained those things?
If you did achieve one of those things, you might have found that the happiness boost was short-lived, or wasn't as intense as you'd imagined.
Most of us have gone through this cycle...
When we experience something good, the surge of happiness we experience is likely to return to a steady personal baseline over time.
Euphoria dissipates. Anger calms. Even grief eventually recedes.
This is a phenomenon known as the "Hedonic Treadmill".
The Science of Happiness: The 50/40/10 Rule
That point of baseline happiness is different for everyone. 50% is set by genetics—40% by actions, thoughts, and attitudes—10% by external circumstances.
Psychologists think this capability may be related to our survival. Moving past events into an emotional "background" may enable us to deal with the events we face today.
The hedonic treadmill doesn't leave you doomed to the status quo. Instead, it gives you 40% of your happiness to control. Try and make daily choices which will compound to a higher baseline over time.
Be optimistic whenever something bad happens, knowing your happiness will return and learn to savour pleasures.