Investing our money in Experiences makes us happier than spending our money on "Stuff".
Profesor Laurie Santos from Yale University has a wealth of data to back up this statement in her Science of Well-Being course I'm taking through Coursera for FREE!
She makes her point by sharing results from various studies related to investing in Experiences rather than Stuff. Some of the points she made were......
The anticipation of Experiences has more excitement and pleasure than the anticipation of making purchases.
We have the memory of an Experience forever.
When you talk about Experiences, people perceive you more positively than when you talk about your "Stuff". It's also more fun to talk about your experiences.
Comparing ourselves to others greatly reduces our happiness factor. People who spend more money on Stuff than Experiences spend more time comparing themselves to others which reduces their happiness.
Jess and I took our trapeze lesson on the 5th. During the days since the lesson, I've found that everything Professor Santos mentioned is true. The anticipation about the lesson was quite exciting! The memory is vivid - I can clearly visualize grabbing that trapeze, looking at the net and jumping off the platform. I'm certain I'll never forget it. I've also had a lot of fun sharing the experience with friends and family.
Here's the flip side of Experiences vs Purchases this past week - I know I purchased and received 2 items in the mail last week that I'd wanted. Right now I have to think hard to remember what they were. Not much of a long-lasting happiness factor there.
She also says that our expectation of whether something will be good or bad can influence how we experience it when it happens. For example, I'm listening to some people who are already anticipating the upcoming holidays with sadness because this year "It just won't be the same".
Well, I'd love to know WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE THE SAME TO BE HAPPY???
If you go with Dr. Santos' suggestion, make events happy this year by shifting your perspective. Focus on how you can plan Experiences rather than Purchases. Maybe you could........
Enjoy the experience of making cards to send to each other rather than purchasing gifts. Include the kids in the project. I'm sure when you put your heads together you can come up with some unique ideas for each person you want to remember. Pinterest is always a great "go-to" for creative ideas. Plan a fun family event where you get creative.
Agree with other families on your shopping list that this year instead of shopping for each other, our families are going to exchange "....
A new recipe we've found. Then compare notes.
Create a song about our family (or their family) and share the videos.
Make ornaments to send to each other.
You get the point and probably have better ideas than me. :)
I have a wonderful sweet potato casserole recipe Jess shared with me years ago. I think of her every time I make it. You probably have special recipes from friends and family that put a smile on your face when you make them.
Dave and I have several animal ornaments made from things you'd gather on a walk - twigs, acorns, prickly little balls, seeds. We remember the moment surrounding them every year when we hang them on our tree. You and your family could go for a walk to gather the supplies AND enjoy the fun of making some ornaments OR a Thanksgiving wreath or table centerpiece, etc.
Trying something new can be a lot of fun and can create memories that will last - even if it's a DUD!! I'll bet you that years from now when your family gathers for a holiday, someone will say, "Remember the year of the Pandemic when we had fun doing......" Who knows, you may start a tradition in 2020 that you enjoy in the years to come.