(Mirror Daily, United States) – Since we’re still in the holiday spirit, researchers found that money can be used to buy happiness, at least for others. There’s a poetic saying that it cannot, and there are definitely experiences that may not be purchased with money. Not for yourself, at least. But, for others, it might just work.
Two researchers at the University of British Columbia found that there are two ‘flavors’ of happiness, both achievable with money through gift giving. They conducted a study that implied studying their reactions to received presents for Christmas. This was divided into two types: the ‘material gifts’, such as sweaters, coffee makers, etc., and the ‘experiential gift’, such as concert tickets, game tickets, or getaways.
They then asked the subjects to write out their thoughts and feelings on their gifts at different intervals, from that moment, to a day after, and even six weeks later. This way, they were able to track down the self-reported happiness of the participants over the following months. It was found that both provide happiness, just in two different ways.
According to co-author of the study, Aaron Weidman, they were surprised to find that the ‘material gifts’ provided more happiness through time. In fact, they provided repeated small doses of happiness in the weeks following Christmas. ‘Experiential gifts’, on the other hand, offered more intense feelings of joy, but they faded with time.
Thus, if you want to give someone one great experience, a getaway will be better. It will provide with fond memories that they will cherish for a long time. However, for more happiness, material gifts will be better. For example, they will enjoy a coffee maker for a prolonged period of time, and it will make them happy each time they use it.
Admittedly, there are not a lot of options available of great ‘experiential gifts’ for the same amount of money you would spend on a coffee maker. It will likely not be the adventure of a lifetime, but a casual outing. Something material would be more easily acquired and would offer more joy in smaller doses each day. It could be something useful to keep in mind during this time of the year.
Christmas isn’t technically over yet. There might be more gifts for you to purchase, and there are some options still out there. It’s a tough process for some, who spend even weeks thinking on what to buy.
Bear in mind that happiness is a very subjective and complex concept. The study could be pinned on the question of whether you wish for multiple good experiences more often, or one amazing experience at a time more rarely. What is happiness for some is not happiness for others.
Image source: conciergepakistan.com
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