Want to know the secret to real happiness? It’s not more money. It’s not possessions. Extra cash and new things may give us temporary joy, but the key to lasting bliss is experiences.
It may seem counterintuitive: A pricey item that you really want can last so much longer than an activity or a vacation, so it must lead to greater happiness, right? Not according to science. A recent 20-year study revealed that the excitement from purchasing things is short-lived, but the memories from experiences are what make us who we are, and ultimately what make us happy.
I believe the experts. I know that when I do activities with my kids—whether it’s an exercise class, seeing a movie, or going on a trip—it’s absolutely the best money I spend. I never regret spending time with them, but I’ve definitely bought things that I’ve regretted wasting money on!
Technique of the week: Think of ways to spend any extra money you have on an event or an experience with a person (or people) you love. Maybe it’s a weekend getaway or a day trip, tickets to a concert or a play, a cooking class or wine tasting, or something that costs nothing at all, such as an afternoon hike or a bike ride in the country. Consciously appreciate whatever you do and know that the joy you feel and the memories you make will last forever.