Happiness Archive #2: summary/response to “How to buy Happiness”

The importance of how we use our money can contribute to our happiness opposed to how much of it we have. In the article the author starts by introducing the idea of discovering a $1 million under our mattress, and the contemplation on what would be done with the money. The mere fact that the first thing that would come to mind would be ” what that money can do for US?” is a sign that money can bring out the selfish side. Thinking about all the material things to purchase often fails to give us complete satisfaction, “HAPPINESS”. Wherein changing how we spend the money can leave a more lasting affect of happiness. Research shows that “homeowners were no happier than renters on average”. Before reading this article, this would have been something I’d disagree with, but the points shown has given me a new perspective.

We spend most of our time working so hard to live “comfortably” or “lavishly” that we in fact forget to actually “LIVE”. Saving up with no social life isn’t such a good idea because there is an importance of social contact for improving our well being. Studies also show that there is more happiness in the experience than in the material things. the value of experience tends to grow with our memories of them. Experiences come with more benefit because, more than likely we tend to do them with others. Connecting both the experience with the socializing wherein measuring to a more fulfillment of happiness.

Another way is in fact doing for others. Experiments show that doing for others can also result in your own happiness. Actually combining the experience and giving can increase happiness. The experiment with the gift cards showed that people were more happy with the idea of giving and partaking at the same time, which made it a shared experience. So switching spending to the experience can leave a longer lasting valued affect!!!

Life experiences vs. Material things

According to the article “How to buy happiness” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, a person can be more happy depending on how they spend their money and not how much they have. The authors start by asking a question whether what would a person do with a million dollars. Followed by this, they state that research shows that the first response people think to this question are about satisfying their wants with material objects. Moreover, the authors continue to explain that it’s been proven scientifically that buying material things will not guarantee your happiness. According to the authors’ ongoing research, they guarantee that one can be happier by sharing experiences with their relatives or loved ones. Doing some activities such as trips, special meals and concerts can make an individual much happier than buying material things. This is proven by the authors’ experiment where they gave away Starbucks gift cards in a university campus. There were three experimental groups; people who bought something for themselves, people who gave away their gift cards, and people who used the gift card to buy something for someone else and shared the moment with them. The conclusion of this experiment was that the third group reported to be happier than the others. The authors conclude the article by restating that people can be happy spending their money wisely on experiences rather than the ultimate house of their dreams.

I completely agree with the authors’ opinion. It is better to spend money on experiences that we will remember the rest of our lives, rather than material things that might only last for a few years. I am actually glad there is research to prove this thesis. I think we should spread more awareness in our communities, about how we are defining the concept of happiness. Hence, now in these days we have become more dependent on material things for our happiness; such as having a cellphone, clothes of the season, and so on.