You’re likely as familiar with the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” as I am, but did you know that it’s only partly true?  Recent research has found that money can buy happiness – if it’s spent on the right things.  It seems that when we buy “stuff” any positive feelings we experience soon dissipate and we’re looking for something else to make us happy.  But if we spend the money on an experience, especially if it involves other people, the positive feelings produced are stronger and last much longer.

When 150 people were interviewed about their recent spending researchers discovered that money which had been spent on activities, especially those with others such as going to a concert or out for a night on the town, resulted in more positive emotions than when the money was just spent on material ‘things’, such as T.V.s, expensive shoes and fancy watches.   Likewise, spending money on others rather than yourself, called “prosocial spending”, also results in greater happiness.  This may explain why parents feel so good when they buy something for their children, even if it;s just new cloths for school.

So if you want to be happier look to see how you can alter your spending habits to boost your happiness.  A good place to start is to track your current spending patterns for the next month.  You can either create a spreadsheet to do this or simply draw 2 columns on a piece of paper and label one “Activities, for others” and the 2nd column can be “Just Stuff”.  At the end of a month look over how you spent your money.  Was it on experiences and on others – or was it mostly on stuff?  How did each purchase make you feel?  Did it have a lasting affect on your happiness?

If you discover that most of your spending was on accumulating more stuff and you’re not as happy as you’d like, consider changing your spending habits and put more emphasis on creating enjoyable experiences with others and spending for others.  At the end of the day you’ll feel better for it 🙂

Until the next time – THRIVE on 🙂

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Karen Switzer-Howse, B.Sc., MBC

Canada’s Premier Thrive Synergy Catalyst