People Who Spend on Experiences are Happier than Those Who Buy Stuff

Research in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that people who spend money on “things” are less happy than people who spend their money on “experiences.” Those new shoes that you’ve been coveting aren’t going to make you happy in the long term, but a trip to the beach might.

Elite Daily breaks down the study’s findings:

The researchers from San Francisco State University found people do, in fact, understand life is all about the memories we create, but we get so caught up in trends and demand that we cave and make purchases we’ll inevitably regret.

Before they even made the purchases, study participants said life experiences would be more beneficial than buying the latest and greatest items on their wish lists.

After buying whatever their heart temporarily desired, participants soon realized they would much rather have put that money toward an experience, which would have increased their happiness for a more sustained amount of time.

One of the types of experiences that is helping people find happier, more fulfilled lives, are spiritual or religious trips. The Boston Globe reports:

Travel companies report that the number of people taking “faith-based” vacations is up as much as 164 percent in the last five years, even at a time when surveys show that the fastest-growing religious category in the United States is no religious affiliation at all, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

If you’re changing your life or asking questions about meaning and purpose, a trip to a place that you find spiritually important or psychologically invigorating may be just what the doctor ordered. If there’s some place you’d really like to see, start saving for that trip. Let the new tech gadget go. The latest tablet upgrade won’t change your life, but making memories that will last a lifetime will.