People like to say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but we have all experienced how having a few extra dollars to spend can boost your mood or increase your relaxation.
Maybe you have splurged on a massage, a new flattering top, or a treadmill in hopes of increasing your well-being even temporarily. Maybe you’ve even boosted your savings rate for some extra peace of mind.
Well it turns out there may be better ways to do that. In this article “The Happiness Budget,” the authors outline some proven ways to use money to boost your mood.
- Spend on a vacation instead of the spa.
- Buy makeup instead of clothing.
- Spruce up your bedroom instead of another room.
- Get a gym membership instead of home equipment.
- Give it away instead of hoarding it.
Research has shown that vacations have a positive effect on short-term happiness but also a beneficial impact on people’s long-term mental and physical well-being. In addition, putting distance between you and your daily surroundings can give you a fresh perspectiv on your life, which can lead to a positive change and/or outlook.
Believe it or not, a study conducted by BuzzBack Market Research indicates that beauty products are a more satisfying purchase than a new addition to your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s because you can get daily use out of them. Either way it’s worth a try, especially since makeup tends to be cheaper than clothing!
One recent study found that the cities where residents got the most restful night’s sleep were also the places where people’s happiness levels were highest. We spend around a third of our lives in our beds, so a good mattress, soothing paint color, or luxury sheets in the bedroom could make a lot more of a difference in your life than another kitchen appliance or coffee table book.
There are several factors that can lead to more satisfaction when working out at the gym as opposed to at home. The social element may make you more likely to go, and having an instructor or fit neighbor motivating you can make you work harder and improve your results. When people have fun exercising they are more likely to do it, and having a nice environment or fun class to look forward to at a gym can make a workout a lot more fun than staring at the walls in your dingy basement or trying to do jazzersize in front of the TV while your kids run around you in circles.
“Not many things contribute to our happiness more than generosity,” says Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., a former Harvard lecturer and the author of Happier. I think we all realize this intuitively and have experienced how helping someone who is much less fortunate is infinitely more gratifying than spending – or even saving – our money for ourselves. In one experiment, researchers handed out $5 and $20 bills to students, asking half to spend it on themselves and half to dole the dollars out to other people. Those who gave the cash away reported feeling happier at the end of the day.
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