Happiness goals countdown

Increasing the world’s happiness quotient

one resolution at a time

Happiness Goal #4: Spend 40% of Your Leisure Budget on Experiences

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Welcome to the fourth installment of the Happiness Goals Countdown. Today you’re going to learn how experiences make you happier than material possessions.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to forsake material possessions. Sometimes you really need that new car. But that purchase’s impact on your happiness won’t be as great as visiting a museum or taking a pleasure cruise.

A lengthy 2009 study by Hill and Howell published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that experiences created more happiness than possessions. The researchers compared responses from people about their feelings for material purchases and experiential purchases.

Compared to material purchases, a greater number of people responded that experiences improved their well-being. Specifically they considered their money to be better spent on experiences. They said that it made them feel happier. Some even said that it made other people happier. Now there’s a way to raise the world’s Happiness Quotient!

Hill and Howell explained that spending money on experiences met psychological needs. It made people feel more connected and vital. People also did not feel like their experience had to be compared to those of other people. There is less of a psychological impulse to “keep up with Joneses” when you purchase experiences.

Positive experiences stick with us for a long time too. The happiness boost you get from a shiny new material object fades. But you’ll always treasure that trip to see a new grandchild or seeing your favorite performer in concert.

For these reasons, set a goal to spend 40 percent of your leisure budget on experiences. So take that painting class or plan a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to see. Experiences that matter to you will increase your happiness long term.

You’ll be grateful for the choices you make. And gratitude is important to happiness too. Watch for your next Happiness Goals Countdown message. It’s about the power of gratitude..

Artist: Marinus van Reymerswale