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Money can actually buy you happiness. Here's how to get it.

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/11/13/20951937/money-experiences-buy-happiness-happy-how-to-spend

vox.com

Money can actually buy you happiness. Here's how to get it.
Part of The Happiness Issue of The Highlight , our home for ambitious stories that explain our world. It was early February in Los Angeles, and Andra Izgarian, 29, had reached a career high point: As the director of media operations at Condé Nast, she had scored an invitation to the 2019 Grammys.

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Increasing your well-being

Increasing your well-being

A growing body of research shows we can reliably raise our well-being.

Reframing the way we think about money and making financial decisions can lead to long-term gains in life satisfaction. Just having money doesn’t necessarily mean greater happiness, but using it well can.

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Two categories of happiness

  • The level of positive emotions. This includes pride, joy, contentment, and curiosity we experience on a day-to-day basis. How happy you are on an immediate basis fluctuates by the day or even the hour.
  • The overarching sense of contentment. How happy you are overall, generally remains the same. When you rate your happiness on a 10-point scale, if you are a seven kind of person, you will often stay around seven.

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Buy time

Buying time by outsourcing unpleasant or disliked tasks can benefit our well-being. 

Unfortunately, we're not great at valuing time over money. To change our spending habits, it helps to value time more than money. It could mean that we seek a job for its flexibility rather than the salary and prestige.

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Spend money on experiences

Psychologically, the effect of buying stuff is less valuable. Experiences are often better investments, as they encourage meaningful memories and connections that have a lasting impact.

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Give money away

A series of experiments found people are happier after spending money on others versus on themselves. It is not that spending money on yourself doesn't feel good - it just doesn't seem to last for long.

By giving money away, you not only make other people happy, but you also make yourself happier.

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The beginning of positive psychology

The story of positive psychology started just 20 years ago with Martin Seligman, head of the American Psychological Association. The idea he considered was: What if every perso...

Personal transformation

The term “positive psychology" was coined by Abraham Maslow in 1954. Martin Seligman used this term to promote personal change through the redemptive power of devotional practices like counting your blessings, gratitude, forgiveness, and meditation.

It is expressly designed to build moral character by cultivating the six virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, humanity, temperance, and transcendence.

Not a science

Martin Seligman insists on the value-neutral purity of the research on positive psychology. Yet even its fans say it seems to have some of the characteristics of a religion.

Philosophers such as Mike W. Martin say positive psychology has left the field of science and entered the realm of ethics. Science is a factual enterprise, not promoting particular values.

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Money And Happiness

The debate about how material belongings can get in the way of our happiness dates back hundreds of years:

  • The Buddha talked about a balance between asceticism and pleasure.

The Hedonic Treadmill

The things we buy might make us happy in the moment, but that feeling fades away over time. This phenomenon is called the “hedonic treadmill."

We get used to things that we have, and when new, more attractive things catch our eye, we feel like we need to keep getting more stuff to maintain those feelings.

Money: Happiness Vs Misery

  • Happiness is a really difficult topic to study, because it’s subjective, unstable, and intangible.
  • Affluence has a certain impact on our well-being when it comes to satisfying our basic needs and standard of living, but in general, research shows that it is a weak predictor of happiness.
  • Researchers agree on is this: there are ways to spend our money that are more likely to elicit joy.

Adaptation and happiness

Adaptation is the enemy of happiness.

We buy things to make us happy. And they do, but only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.

Experiences vs. Objects

Objects fade and become part of the new normal. So you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling. 

Experiences really are part of ourselves. We are the sum total of our experiences.

Shared experiences

They connect us more than shared consumption.

Even if someone wasn’t with you when you had a particular experience, you’re much more likely to bond over both having hiked the Appalachian Trail or seeing the same show than you are over both owning Fitbits.