Want Happiness? Spend your Money on Experiences
International Day of Happiness
Tuesday, March 20 is designated the International Day of Happiness by the United Nations. The idea is to spark a global celebration between all 193 UN member states and organizations. The fact we now have a day dedicated to happiness marks an attitude shift occurring across the globe.
It’s Time to Prioritize Happiness
Several researchers over the past years have been studying exactly what brings us long term sustained happiness. Would you be surprised to learn that it isn’t money (necessarily) and it isn’t your stuff?
Professor Thomas Gilovich at Cornell University conducted a 2014 study that found that experiences are the real glue of our lives. Experiences matter so much more than gadgets and things. Why? Experiences enhance our relationships than things. Experiences shape us, change us, and become a part of who we are.
Perhaps most interesting of all, it’s impossible to compare experiences. There are way less opportunities for social comparisons or ‘keeping up with the Jones’ when it comes to individual experiences.
Time to Make a (Travel) Change
All of us are pursuing happiness to one degree or another. But the first question that these researchers ask us to consider is ‘What can happiness be?’ Any culture that values more work and less leisure as a measure of success isn’t likely to top the list of happiest places on earth.
Experiences like traveling with friends and family are inherently social. This makes the experience valuable – you have shared stories, memories, and time that cannot be taken away, break, or become outdated.
We’ve read before that money makes us happy up to a certain point, but once all your basic needs are met, the amount of happiness that money brings is limited. So the question becomes, how to spend your money to bring you the most happiness? It makes sense that a tangible gadget or thing that we desire or that will make life a little easier for us will bring happiness. And it will, up to a point, but things are initially exciting, wear off. As Dr. Gilovich says, “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation.” the excitement over a material item diminishes over time.
However, the exact opposite is true of a travel experience. Travel gets in your blood and becomes ingrained into your identity, it opens your mind up to new ideas and opportunities and it creates memories that can last a lifetime.
Why Spending Money on Experiences like Travel Will Make You Happier
You can like your stuff. Love it even. We aren’t trying to vilify your favorite things. But think about your smartphone right now. Now think about your honeymoon. Your smartphone helps you manage your life and is indispensable in many ways. But your honeymoon is full of great memories, connecting with your spouse, meeting new people, trying new things…. and that just can’t compare to the convenience of a smart phone (that you may already be thinking about upgrading).
Take some time on this International Day of Happiness and reflect on what makes you truly happy and how you can bring more of that into your life.
…. a little prize draw to make you happy
To celebrate the launch of our new-look Another World Adventures website we’ve buddied up with the people at Simply Scuba to offer 3 lucky winners a chance to each win a £150 gift voucher to spend on awesome snorkel gear! Click here to take part – it’s simple to enter!