Monday, August 16, 2010

How to Experience Happine$$

If you want to be happier, research shows that people who spend money on experiences rather than material possessions are happier in the long run.  Research by Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich reveals that money can in fact buy happiness.  The catch is that it depends what you spend your money on.

When people spend their money on material goods (like a TV or article of clothing for example), the happiness and satisfaction they get initially is short-lived.  Experiences on the other hand, like a vacation or a bike ride in the park live on in the memories we have and the stories we tell long after the experience has come and gone.  Many material goods are vehicles, or tools that we use for experiences (like a bike or gaming system).  The more experiences that "thing" can provide for us, the more long-term, enduring happiness results from possessing that "thing". 

Happiness and money research also tells us that people who live in wealthier countries tend to be happier than citizens of poorer countries.  Within a country, those with more money tend to be happier than people with less money.

The overall results and findings of this research tells us that it's not how much money you have, it is what you spend your money on that can influence how happy you are.  Experiences don't necessarily have to cost very much, so it is possible to have great memories without the great expense.  When spending money on material possessions, it's a good idea to chose those items that can provide you with great experiences and enjoyment. 

I like the way this research focuses in on the fact that long-lasting happiness is based on experiences.  For those who don't have much money, it gives hope that there are affordable ways to have happy experiences.  For me, vacations, watching good movies, having parties and sharing time with family and friends are ways that I experience enduring and long-lasting feelings of happiness and satisfaction with life.  I have memories, photos that I can look at and stories that I can share with others.  What experiences make you happy?

For more information, go to the CNN clip, "Does Money Equal Happiness" at

Have a happy day!

~Angela Gentile

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