For years, society has upheld the notion that materialistic values have the ability to impede our happiness. Today, the question of whether money can truly bring us happiness remains one that is up for serious debate! From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that material things might make us happy in the moment, but that feeling of happiness is one that dwindles over time. This is what psychologists refer to as the “hedonic treadmill” – and it means that humans eventually get used to the things we have, and when new, shiny things are advertised, we feel like we need to buy them in order to maintain those feelings.So, does money truly bring us happiness, or is it at the root of our misery? Well, the truth is, it’s complicated. What most experts do agree on is that there are ways we can spend our money that are more likely to elicit feelings of happiness. So, here are three ways you can start spending your money for maximum happiness:
Spend on things that save you time
Despite our ability to do absolutely everything faster and more efficiently than ever before, people across all income levels have reported experiencing a phenomenon known as time famine – the feeling of having too much to do but simply not enough time to do it. And the chaos that stems from feeling overwhelmed and time-constrained has the ability to have real consequences on our health. Which is why experts recommend “buying time” – doing things like ordering takeout instead of cooking, paying a bit extra for that direct flight to save yourself the hassle of experiencing a lengthy layover. Buying time can help to increase our sense of control, our overall feelings of well-being and give us more time to invest in the things that bring us joy.
Invest in experiences
Many of us may think that it’s more practical to spend money on something you can use for years rather than on a vacation or even a concert. But research suggests that spending on intangible experiences can bring us happiness longer than a material object can. Even spending on simple, low-costing pleasures like a picnic at the park with your significant other, or renting a bike with a friend, can produce small boosts in your mood and facilitate positive social connection.
Spend on others
A benefit of spending on experiences is that they often inspire us to engage in more unselfish behaviours. Experts have found that when we think about experiences rather than material possessions, we end up being way more generous to others. This is mainly because humans tend to be more thankful for the things they have done as opposed to what they have. The bottom line is that happiness is subjective – so, if you’ve found a method of spending that makes you happy, good on you! And if you’re still figuring things out, you may find that spending on advancing social relationships in your life can do wonders in eliciting feelings of happiness.