How many times have you bought something in a bid to cheer yourself up? I often say I need a bit of retail therapy when I am feeling low. So, I was interested to read an article today that said I should stop wasting money on things and look to spend my money on having experiences. (http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/want-happiness-buy-experiences-not-more-stuff)
It goes against logically thinking to spend money on experiences. After all those come and go and often we have nothing to show for it. On the other hand if we have been out on a spending spree then we have a whole heap of items that we can use, look at or enjoy. But psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University has studied this and believes that we quickly become used to having the items we have bought.
The experiences we have last long in our memories and we also have the anticipation of the experience to savour. I can see this. If I think about today and what I have done it was the lovely hack on my horse that was the best experience of the day. I can tell you about it in detail, how it looked, what we saw, the smells and the gentle rain on us. If I close my eyes I can feel myself back there again many hours later. Yet the few items for sewing that I treated myself to will exist in the home, will be useful, but don’t hold the secret to long term happiness.
I suppose it goes back to the Buddhist way that enlightenment isn’t about having things and it is about divesting yourself of all things to move to a higher place. If we surround ourselves with things then they are just things. Happiness is about much more than that.
Gilovich says experiences reflect more of who we really are. They are said to be closer to our inner selves as we are ‘the sum total of all our experiences’. So experiences are about our social selves. They allow us to get closer to others that we don’t get through inanimate objects. This is true. The hack today was shared with four of my friends from the stables and then through social media shared wider on Facebook. (see below)
Perhaps we should all start to value those experiences in our lives rather than focus on acquiring more things