Science: experiences make you happier than things

ellen_rocksIt’s handy to be reminded once in a while that life, and in particular your happiness or satisfaction in life, isn’t about collecting stuff.

I love this little nugget from Fast Company’s story:

Another reason is that shared experiences connect us more to other people than shared consumption. You’re much more likely to feel connected to someone you took a vacation with in Bogotá than someone who also happens to have bought a 4K TV.

In my own life, I have always felt like sharing experiences is the best way to make friendships (talking is good too, but something magic happens if you just do stuff together).

Another bonus of collecting experiences instead of stuff:

You’re also much less prone to negatively compare your own experiences to someone else’s than you would with material purchases. One study conducted by researchers Ryan Howell and Graham Hill found that it’s easier to feature-compare material goods (how many carats is your ring? how fast is your laptop’s CPU?) than experiences. And since it’s easier to compare, people do so.

“The tendency of keeping up with the Joneses tends to be more pronounced for material goods than for experiential purchases,” says Gilovich. “It certainly bothers us if we’re on a vacation and see people staying in a better hotel or flying first class. But it doesn’t produce as much envy as when we’re outgunned on material goods.”

Of course, you CAN brag about being at Dent, because the experience is just a little better than all those other gatherings 🙂

(photo by KK)