Our new school year has just begun (I know, so many tears), and although I’m not any happier leaving summer behind than you are, I am eager to remind you all of something, something which will better sustain your inner-happiness throughout the academic year. Keep in mind that what I am about to say is grounded in science, so don’t question me, question science!
According to scientists, it is experiences, not material goods, that give us the most amount of happiness. I am not going to go into all the details, but apparently, materials can only do so much when bringing us joy. Eventually, this happiness does taper off. It seems kind of counter-intuitive, as goods are physically present for a long time; however, research says that new objects lose their appeal and fade into the background, as human-beings adapt to them.
Experiences, on the other hand, become ingrained into our identities – they essentially become a part of who we are. Experiences bond us to the people we’ve shared the experiences with, give us a sense of self, and enable us to connect with complete strangers. They allow ourselves and others to rediscover the past, build our character, and even give us a funny story to tell at dinner. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy hearing about the time you woke up to a harmless, sleep-deprived man screaming on the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco (this happened to me, true story).
Personally, when I look back on my summer, it is the time I spent with my family that comes to mind. Countless memories of my younger sister making me crack up on the airplane, seeing my grandpa in Lucknow, India, whining to my mom when I had to get up at 4:00 AM for our flights – these MOMENTS are what make me most happy.
Of course, goods bring me joy – the makeup I bought from Ulta this past summer … I enjoy it quite a bit. However, I do see, that in the long run, living and recounting experiences, that will make me who I am today, brings me a lot more happiness than any physical object could ever bring.
SO, invest yo money and time on making experiences, not buying goods. Go to the museum with your friends, go on a hike with your parents, go to the beach with your doggy. It’s all about maximizing your happiness! 🙂