What Makes Us Happy? Material Possessions Or Experiences?
Do Possessions Make us Happy?
Is it Possessions Or Experiences That Make us Happy?
This would seem like an easy question to most of us. The obvious answer would be experiences, wouldn't it? Falling in love, making friends, traveling and just being out there in the world experiencing the unlimited abundance there is on offer would appear to hold much more weight than mere objects that are nothing without our interaction with them.
However, when one takes a look at the current climate in the world's financial sector we see a very different picture. Credit card dominance to the point of implosion of economies and countries. Consumerism at an all-time high with massive spending still going on despite the financial troubles we are all facing.
It would appear that for many of us, possessions are what increase happiness. Let's take a look at a study done in 2009.
Do possessions really make us happy?
Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, presented his findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting in 2009.
His study examined 154 students enrolled at San Francisco State University, with an average age of 25.
The participants were asked a series of questions about a recent purchase they had made, either material or experiential in the last 3 months, with the intention of increasing their happiness.
Students who wrote about experiences showed a higher level of satisfaction both at the time of experience and later. The difference that stood out the most was the level of happiness that "others" felt when the participants told them about their experiences. Friends, family and colleagues were happy to hear of those experiences and as a result, their happiness increased too.
The difference between the two purchases then, is clearly that people are able to relate more to experiences and share the happiness experienced from them by others than they could with for instance, a friend's new ferrari or house.
Researchers also found that people felt a greater energy and vitality both at the time of the experience and during their fond recollection of it.
What Makes us Happy?
Experiences are with us for life and can be recalled within a moments notice, enabling us to immerse ourselves in an almost identical experience at the time of recall, whereas a new computer may excite us for the first 2 weeks and give us some enjoyment the pleasure will be forgotten and won't leave any lasting memory.
What we need
We have plenty of shopping malls, stores, supermarkets etc, we even have all that stuff online too. What we don't really have enough of is experiential opportunities that increase happiness and make us happy for the longer term, not just the few weeks that a new purchase gives us.
More parks, natural areas and open land with animals and activities for us to enjoy are a must if we are to increase the overall level of happiness in our worldwide community. Right now, we sacrifice park-land, nature and woods and forests so that we can build more shopping malls and continue this crazy reliance on material possessions for happiness.
Yes, we live in a world where most people rely on material possessions to make them happy, but that doesn't mean material possessions . It means we promote them, because money makes the world go round and we have been brainwashed into thinking that we actually NEED those things in order to be happy. Hogwash. We can learn to be happy by opening our eyes and being grateful for the opportunities all around us, both the social and the natural. MAKE US HAPPY
Possessions bring short term happiness. Experiences are the key to happiness, so I urge you to invest in them and build up your bank of memories rather than your bank of material things and money.
Experiences Make us Happy More Than Anything Else
Material to assist you in finding inner peace
What makes us happy?
The Psychology of Happiness Poll
What makes you happy?
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