Why do we go to the stores with such determination when we have money in our wallets? With each new purchase, we feel a little happier, but a few days later that satisfaction usually disappears.
We decided it was time to tackle this problem once and for all and to understand how we can all find true happiness.
It turns out that the main impediment to happiness is adaptation. As soon as something we buy becomes common and uninteresting, the level of life satisfaction decreases, and we are forced to look for the next purchase. This process is repeated over and over again.
However, research at Cornell University has found a way to break this damaging cycle.
Psychology professor Thomas Gilovich showed that we experience the same increase in happiness when we buy something we want and when we travel.
But, and this is the most important point, the amount of happiness we get from our purchase decreases over time, while memories of our travel experience continue to provide us with hormones of happiness for much longer.
Going to various kinds of unusual events, taking trips, learning new skills, and even extreme sports – all of these are an ideal source of happiness for each and every one of us.
A new device or even a new car will end up becoming another common object that we own or else they will become old and obsolete.
Each new memory, on the other hand, becomes a true source of joy that remains with us throughout our lives.
A study by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience, they say they have negatively impacted their happiness, as they have an opportunity to talk about it, their evaluation of that experience increases.
Gilovich attributes this to the fact that something that may have been stressful or terrifying in the past can either become a fun story to tell at a party or be seen as an invaluable experience for character creation.
Another reason is that shared experiences connect us more with other people than with shared consumption. You are much more likely to feel connected to someone with whom you were on vacation in Bogotá than to someone who also bought a 4K television.
Preview photo credit Jimmy Tran/shutterstock
Based on materials from fastcoexist