You might well have heard that buying experiences is better and makes us happier than buying objects. There is real science behind that assertion, it’s not just something made up by experience companies to get you to spend money. Let’s look at the reasons why experiences make us happier:
Retail therapy is addictive
Most households contain far too much ‘stuff’ and yet we never seem satisfied with what we’ve got. Each month we add to the number of things we own, but the pursuit of happiness remains. We never have enough to feel satisfied, like a drug that we’re addicted to.
Do we own or experience?
We believe that the most long-term happiness will come from possessions, but in fact the opposite seems to be the case. Recent psychological studies show that we get far more enjoyment from activities like hobbies, travel and being active. Our mood improves when we engage in these pursuits, whereas buying physical possessions doesn’t alter our mood at all.
It seems to go against the grain that we’ll get more pleasure from a one-off experience than a possession that lasts a life time. However much you love your new 3-piece suite, you’ll stop getting any enjoyment from it after only a few days. You get used to the new thing you just bought, and it becomes the new norm – a process called hedonic adaptation. It can be said that the pursuit of an object is more fun than the possession of it.
You cannot get bored with an experience you only did once! You might enjoy it so much, you want to do it again. Like a day of Tank Driving at https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html
Spending your money and time on experiences also enables you to connect with others in a more interesting and meaningful way. You’ll feel far more connected to others who share the same interests as you than someone who has the same possessions. Experiences can be shared, whereas possessions are highly personal.
The great thing about experiences is that the memories stay with you forever and are often remembered as better than they really were! Objects, on the other hand only deteriorate with time. They break, go out of fashion but an experience lives on. Even bad ones can provide something to laugh about down the line.
You are the sum of your experiences and not your possessions. People should judge you by who you are and not what you have. The main desire should be to be defined by your life experiences and not how much you own.
Experiences are unique and don’t bring out the green-eyed monster in us like possessions do. You might feel a little envious when you learn a neighbour has just returned from a month-long cruise, but not as bad as you’d feel when they pulled up in a brand new Mercedes.