Can money buy happiness? |

Can money buy happiness?

Money really can buy happiness — you just have to spend it in the right places. Recent research has shown that spending your discretionary income on life experiences — whether climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or taking salsa lessons — yields greater happiness than buying material possessions. A report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concludes that the key is to bring others along for the ride when you drop that loot.

“If you take our research seriously, then it doesn’t matter what the activity is,” says study author Harry Reis, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, “as long as you’re doing it with someone else.”

Sign up for a local race. Whether a 5K run or a fundraising walk, you’ll wring lots of joy from your money — particularly if you spend months training with a partner before race day. In fact, the study concluded that experiences yield greater happiness, in part, because they can be “reconstructed favorably in memory.”

Go to the movies. Pick the flick you’ve yet to see — whether a foreign documentary or that Spielberg movie you’ve heard so much about — and follow the show by discussing its cinematic merits over a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

Go for a hike. Fresh air, a change of scenery and an opportunity to catch up with your friends in a scenic setting. Could it get any better? As a matter of fact, recent research has linked outdoor time with enhanced creativity, reduced stress, and improved immunity.

Buy a board game. Okay, so we’re cheating a little bit. Technically, that new Scrabble board is a material possession, but Reis notes that “money spent on material purchases that were clearly intended for a social activity ended up being just as good.” After all, there’s no greater joy than proving to your husband, once and for all, that you’ve always had the better vocabulary.

— Courtesy of

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