Tell us – do you love shopping? It’s one of the favorite pastimes of millions of people around the world and is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people love the idea of spending money on clothes, accessories or technology the minute they get paid and that’s OK. The thrill of shopping is heightened by the pleasure of finally getting something you’ve been dreaming of for weeks or months. However, there’s no denying the fact that the thrill goes away just a few days after the purchase.
That’s the problem with material wealth. You can have all the money in the world and shopping may still not be that satisfying. Sure, owning a closet full of the latest designer shoes and clothes is great, but do any of those pieces matter when the new collection arrives? It’s an addiction that’s hard to shake.
Chasing happiness with money isn’t a good long-term plan. However, there is something that might make you happier in the long run than spending money on stuff you don’t need.
Science Confirms that Buying Stuff Isn’t the Way to Go
If you want to achieve happiness in the long run, you won’t do so by shopping. A recent Cornell University study revealed that while shopping stuff provides a high level of satisfaction, it doesn’t bring happiness in the long run. Luckily, there is something that does – traveling. The thrill of getting a new pair of shoes will fade away shortly, but the experience from visiting a new place will stay with you for life.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a Cornell psychology professor, says that the key to maintaining happiness in the long run isn’t purchasing things – it lies in purchasing experiences. You may be in love with your purchases and you may think that all that stuff is part of who you are. However, it’s most definitely not. These purchases are separate from your identity, but traveling experiences are part of who you are. Material goods can only bring short-term pleasure. When it comes to the experience you gain by traveling, it lasts for life.
Connections Bring Happiness
When you travel abroad, you experience new cultures and places that enrich your mind and soul. Disconnecting from your usual surroundings and experiencing new connections creates a “breeding ground” for new happy moments in your life.
An 80-year old study from Harvard showed that people with a deep connection to their family, friends, and community are also the happiest. This is why we need to deepen the connections with everyone in our lives, especially with people closest to us. Material things don’t bring people together like experiences do. Traveling, of course, is one of those things that can help you connect with others.
Many experts consider traveling the most profound experience in their lives. It can bring you closer to your family or friends depending on who you take a trip with, and with that, you’ll certainly be a happier person.
Anything Else Besides Travel That Provides Long-Term Happiness?
Yes, there are other things that can bring long-term happiness in your life much better than a new blouse or a pair of designer shoes. Studies have identified learning new skills, extreme sports, and visiting unusual events as the best among others. Sure, a new car or the latest iPhone will bring you joy for a while. As soon as the new model comes out, though, it’ll be ancient history and you’ll love it less.
That won’t happen with traveling, though. So, instead of spending your hard-earned money on clothes or whatever you think makes you happy, visit a new country – you’ll be investing in your long-term happiness.