Dec 15, 2009

Buy Some Happiness Today :o)

Money, it seems, just might be able to buy you a bit of happiness this holiday season. Or so says research from the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.

The good news: It doesn't matter how much you make, because you can spend as little as $5 to get happy. But there's a catch: In order for your money to make you happy, you've got to spend it on others. Not yourself. Sounds like the perfect reason to pick up a little "extra something" for a loved one or co-worker.

The connection between your wallet and your happiness isn't as complex as you might think. "We found that while it might make you happy 'in the moment,' despite popular belief, spending money on big ticket items like new cars, jewelry or on vacations doesn't contribute to sustained happiness," says lead researcher, University of British Columbia assistant professor Elizabeth Dunn, PhD. And, using a year-end or holiday bonus to pay off bills isn't the path to happiness either.

Dunn's team found people are "significantly happier" when spending "pro-socially" on gifts for friends and family, or in charitable donations. Much more so than when spending money on bills or big-ticket or luxury items. An added bonus: This kind of spending creates happiness that lasts six to eight weeks, says Dunn, much longer than other forms of spending, which can make you happy for just a few weeks, or even a few hours.

So buy co-worker a sandwich, or a loved one their favorite candy bar, or send a card to a friend.  It is the little things that count :o)

Original Entry


  1. I think that you feel better about what you give because you can hope it does someone else who needs it, more good than it would do for yourself.

    For instance, coming out of the grocery store and seeing the Salvation Army kettle, the thought that the loose change from your shopping is going to some good inspires many to make a donation. The feeling that you get from such a small show of selflessness to me, radiates inside, and lasts longer.

    When you spend money on something like a new car, after the initial rush you have to deal with the increased resposibility. Not only that, you worry about whether or not you have gotten the most for you money and the spiral begins. At least, that is how I see it.

  2. I agree completely. It doesn't take hundreds or thousands of dollars to have a merry Christmas. it doesn't take the newest biggest bestest present to make someone happy. It takes very little, actually, to put a smile on someone's face. And on yours.

  3. Hi Ken,
    I've noticed this, too. It's better to give than receive.

  4. Ken terrific post. I'm not surprised. Compassion is priceless and that is what the holiday season is supposed to be about. It is the little things that matter, and they have much more impact than people think.

  5. It's the nightgown or socks that you take to someone in the nursing home...or the Christmas meal you take over to a neighbor that makes me feel the best. Of course, I love spending money on the kids and g/kids, but the heart is warmed much more by doing something nice for someone who is alone. Nice post. God Bless.

  6. It always feels good to give to others.

    Great Post

    Hugs, Rose


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