The Right Way To Buy Happiness

Happiness is so important in our lives.

Not only does it allow us to enjoy our lives more, but it also affects how successful we are in both our personal and professional life. Happiness doesn’t just flow from success; it causes it.

In fact, studies have shown that happiness increases your self-esteem and immune system, allowing you to find more fulfilling careers, live longer, and enjoy better relationships.

This article contains 8 scientific proven ways to boost your happiness in less than a minute.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

More Money Isn’t The Answer

When you ask people what is the most effective way to become happier, the majority would answer: ‘more money’.

However, research has shown that when people can afford the necessities in life, an increase in income doesn’t result in a significantly happier life.

Part of the reason why is that we become accustomed to what we have very quickly.

While buying a new house or a new car can boost your happiness, you quickly get used to it and your happiness gets back to its pre-purchase level.

“Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday’s luxuries can soon become today’s necessities and tomorrow’s relics.” – David Myers

Studies show that 50 percent of your happiness is genetically determined, which cannot be altered. Another 10 percent is attributable to general circumstances such as your education level, your income, whether you are married or single, etc.

These circumstances are somewhat difficult to change, at least not in the short-term.

However, the remaining 40 percent is derived from your day-to-day behavior and the way you think about yourself and others.

Since you have control over these factors, applying a few techniques can make you substantially happier in a short amount of time.

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. Carl Sandburg

The Right Way to Buy Happiness

You’ve probably heard of retail therapy before. Your best friend endures a terrible week at work and says “I need some retail therapy.”

But is it really an effective way to boost your mood? And just how long will your newfound joy last?

#1. Buying Experiences

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When comparing buying experiences versus buying products, studies show that buying experiences made people feel better than buying products, both in terms of short- and long-term happiness.

The reason why is that, experiences usually leave a good memory.

Products, on the other hand, become worn-out or outdated and lose their appeal.

Also, experiences usually promote sociability, effective happiness-inducing activity, whether you spending time with others or tell people about it afterward.

In contrast, our goods can isolate you from others who may feel jealous of the things you have.

So spend your hard-earned cash on more experiences.

Go on vacation, go out with friends to a restaurant, movie, a concert, etc.

#2. Spending Your Money on Other People

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Studies have shown that it’s possible to buy happiness after all: when you spend money on others.

Those who have spent money on their friends and family ended up feeling significantly happier than those who spent more on themselves.

So if you need some retail therapy, try buying others gifts, treating someone to coffee or lunch, or giving other people money.

If you feel like you don’t have enough money to spend on others, a simple nonfinancial act of kindness can be as effective according to a study conducted by Dr. Oliver Scott Curry, from the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

These acts can be as simple as writing a thank-you note, helping a friend, giving a compliment, being a good listener, etc.

Here are 50 Fun Kindness Ideas

How to Become Happier?

#1. The Right Way to Deal With Your Negative thoughts

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Many people believe that the right way to deal with negative thoughts is by suppressing them and simply pushing them out of your mind.

The truth is, studies suggest that thought suppression is far more likely to increase your unhappiness.

This is simply because attempting to suppress certain thoughts makes people obsess on the very thoughts that they are trying not to think about.

One way to deal with your negative thoughts the right way is to distract yourself.

Spend some time with your family and close friends, get more involved in your work, take up a new hobby, etc.

Related: 6 Powerful Techniques To Overcome Negative Thinking

This technique can give you immediate relief, but only for the short-term. But if you want to become more positive in your life, research suggests keeping a diary, carrying out small acts of kindness, and developing the habit of gratitude.

#2. Journaling

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Most people prefer talking about their problems to someone rather than writing them down.

However, a research conducted by Jennifer Borton and Elizabeth Casey at Hamilton College in New York State, shows that talking about your problems to a sympathetic but untrained individual, has no effect on the way you feel.

On the other hand, several studies show that people who spent a few minutes each day writing about their negative feelings and thoughts have experienced a remarkable boost in mood and general well-being.

The reason why is because thinking can be unconstructed and somewhat chaotic which can add a sense of confusion.

Writing, in contrast, encourages creating a structure to the story which helps people make sense of what happened and work out a solution.

#3. Adopting The Gratitude Attitude

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One of the main reasons why money doesn’t buy happiness is the fact that we get accustomed to what we have very quickly.

Gratitude brings into awareness the things we already have.

This reawakens feelings of happiness and appreciation for what you have.

In fact, you have a lot to be happy about. Maybe it’s a loving family, good health, satisfying job, loyal friends, enjoyable hobbies, food on the table and a roof on your head, etc.

Several studies show that positivity begets positive results for our well-being.

Expressing gratitude made people happier and much more optimistic about their future.

Related: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life Overnight

#4. Other Ways to Write Your Way to Happiness

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Writing your problems down and expressing gratitude are the main ways to boost your mood and enjoy your life better.

But there are other ways to create more positivity in your life:

* Visualizing your ideal future. Writing down on a paper your best possible future has proved to boost your mood and increase your levels of joy. Be realistic, but imagine that you have worked hard and achieved your goals and that everything has gone really well.

* Affectionate writing. Being in a loving relationship is good for your physical and psychological health. By the same token, spending a few minutes every day thinking and writing about why the person you love means so much to you can, not only improve your relationship but also boost your mood and reduce your stress levels.

When it comes to boosting your happiness, certain types of writing can have a significant impact.

Writing down your problems, expressing gratitude, visualizing an ideal future, and affectionate writing have proven that a pan and few minutes a day can work wonders.

Related: 15 Easy Ways to Be a Happier Person

#5. Don’t Wait Until You Feel Happy to Smile

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When people are sad, they cry. When they’re happy, they smile. Interestingly, an area of research known as “proprioceptive psychology,” shows that the same process can work in reverse.

This means that deliberately behaving in a certain way can change the way you feel and think. The idea applies to happiness too.

If people smile because they’re happy, they also can feel happy when they smile.

The effect works even people aren’t aware that they’re smiling.

And the effect lingers even when people cease smiling. In other words, if you want to become happier, behave like a happy person.

Smile often, with or without reason, wear more colorful clothing, and use more positive words, especially “like” and “love.”

#6. Intentional Changes

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“Circumstantial change” involves relatively important changes to your overall circumstances, such as moving to a new house, getting a raise, buying a new car, graduating, etc.

Another type of change is labeled “intentional change.”

This type of change requires effort to achieve a goal or start an activity, such as starting a new habit, joining a new club, meeting new people, learning a new skill, etc.

Both type changes result in an immediate increase in happiness.

However, those who experience a circumstantial quickly revert back to their initial levels of joy, while those who make an intentional change remain happier for much longer.

Because we get accustomed to what we have and the life we live very quickly, the initial enjoyment derived from a circumstantial change such as buying a new car will quickly fade away.

Whereas, intentional changes create a continuous change in the psychological landscape.

A simple intentional change such as learning a new skill will feed the brain with ever-changing positive experiences that prolong happiness.

So make an effort to learn a new skill or start a new habit or start a new hobby.

Happiness is the default state. It’s what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in life. Naval Ravikant

Did I miss anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which techniques from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite techniques.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now!

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Portions of this article were adapted from the book 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot, © 2009 by Richard Wiseman. All rights reserved.

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