Giving and Getting Lead to a Happier You
Spending money makes us happier. We feel it in every fibre of our being, from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes. Research would also agree that spending money on others brings us more happiness than buying material objects for ourselves. The epidemic is the same around the globe, whether you are standing in Alaska or Uganda. Why?
According to Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and his colleagues in a series of unpublished studies to appear in his new book, when one gives to another, one automatically feels wealthier. It’s almost as if you lose nothing from your own pockets, because it enters the pockets of another who is grateful for your kindness. Funny enough, this mentality means that the poorest classes earning less than $20,000 will donate a higher percentage of their earnings to charity than those earning over $300,000. It’s mind boggling, but rather sticks true to a Bible story about a widowed old woman giving half of what she had, while the richest gave only their extras. You don’t need to be religious to understand what the story presents about humanity. Those who have little know they give much more and that their donations will bring more luck than the wealthy who barely give the interest of the interest accumulated on their millions.
It’s not only in the case of physical money either that this psychological phenomenon occurs. When we dedicate our time to helping others in need, we suddenly begin to feel like we have more time to give, even more than if we suddenly are given an unexpected break and free time to do as we wish.
On the other hand, there is much pleasure to be gained in buying for ourselves, as well. This, however, does not mean we buy material goods. The happiest people who owe the emotion to their spending are those who will buy experiences. What does this mean? Focus on buying 3 things:
1. Vacations: Go somewhere you have never been or where you have the best memories. You will be happiest creating memories in an exotic country, learning something new and experiencing moments previously not thought of. For example, riding an elephant in Thailand is as foreign for a North American as skiing down the Alps would be for an Ethiopian.
2. Concerts: Buy tickets for a concert, where you can feel the pulse of the beat under your feet and the excitement mixed with euphoria clinging to the air. Listening to music at home might make you happy, but experiencing it live is another world on its own. On the other hand, it’s perfectly understandable if certain scenes do not suit the tastes of certain individuals.
3. Different meals: Spending money on a meal might seem like a waste, but if you are not particularly picky, it’s an amazing pastime. It’s an experience for your tastebuds you don’t want to deny yourself. Try it! Ostrich with asparagus or liver with pomegranate juice? Perhaps try out that sheep brain that’s savoured as such a delicacy in the country you happen to visit. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of trying something entirely foreign. Your stomach can handle it.
There you have it. According to an ample amount of research, you are happiest when you feel wealthiest, which is when you give to others and pay for experiences for yourself. Trust me, it’s most definitely worth it.