You can’t buy happiness, right? Or can you? We had quite a lively discussion about this at the last heartspark Connections. Here are the highlights of what we talked about.
Buy Experiences Rather Than Things
Studies over the past 10 years have shown that life experiences give us more lasting pleasure than material things, yet we still often deny ourselves experiences and prioritize buying “stuff”. We talked about why.
Don’t Adapt to What You Buy
One way to stave off taking what you buy for granted is to foster appreciation and gratitude for what you have. We came up with some creative ways to do that.
The key is to find a way to remain conscious of everything you own and avoid simply adapting to having it around. If you keep a painting hanging in the same spot on the same wall, for example, you’ll stop noticing it after a while. But swap it with a painting from another room, and you’ll see each of them with fresh eyes, and appreciate them more. This could even mean depriving yourself of your possessions for a while, perhaps by lending them or sharing them with someone else.
Try Giving It Away
The paradox of money is that although earning more of it tends to enhance our well-being, we become happier by giving it away than by spending it on ourselves. People who donate money to charity are happier, in poor and rich countries alike.
Be Sure to Buy Time, Too
That big house in the country may seem like a good idea, but one study calculated that you would need a 40% raise to offset the added misery of a one-hour commute. Yikes!
Another way to buy yourself time is by outsourcing tasks you dislike. It’s easier and more affordable than ever to hire tasks out.
What time-saving services have you used? Fivver, Task Rabbit and InstaCart were some that we discussed. Keep in mind you’ll derive more emotional benefit from the time saved if you think of it as ‘windfall time’ and use it to do something good.
If this sounds like the type of conversation you would like to join into, and you live in the greater Portland metropolitan area, come on over to a heartspark Connections. Consider yourself personally invited!