Spending your way to happiness…

Spending your way to happiness…

by Douglas Kenrick for Psychology Today

Two days ago, I was happily walking down a street in Vancouver with my wife and my 6-year-old son. A young woman biked by, looking rather content.  I recognized her as Elizabeth Dunn, a young professor at the University of British Columbia.  Dunn is author of a brilliant paper in Science, in which she and her colleagues demonstrated a surprising link between spending money and happiness (which I_ã_ll describe below).  This morning I happened across Prof. Dunn again, this time while browsing the lead stories in the New York Times, one of which discussed some very recent research on money and happiness.  I_ã_ve only met Dunn a couple of times, but she is one of those people who seems to be smiling all the time.  What makes a happiness researcher happy?  Well, I just looked at the articles on her website for clues.

Apparently, it_ã_s not being wealthy.  A study Dunn conducted with Lara Aknin and Michael Norton revealed that although people believe they_ã_d be a little happier if they made a lot more money, and considerably more miserable if they made a lot less, they_ã_re wrong.  In actuality, poor people aren_ã_t that unhappy, and really wealthy people aren_ã_t any happier than those with comfortable middle-class incomes. 

In fact, another study Dunn conducted with colleagues in Belgium and England suggested a down side to being wealthy: Wealthy people savor their experiences less than poorer people. If you_ã_re poor, you_ã_ll sip slowly and appreciatively on your glass of beer at the local pub; if you_ã_re wealthy, you_ã_ll be disappointed that your glass of 91 point Chardonnay isn_ã_t quite up to the standards of the fine Bê¢tard Montrachet you had last week at the French Laundry.  These researchers found that Belgians who made a lot of money, or even less wealthy Belgians who_ã_d been primed by seeing a pile of Euros, experienced less positive emotions thinking about a romantic evening or a hike to a lovely waterfall.  In another experiment, they found that Canadians spent less time savoring a bar of chocolate when they_ã_d primed by seeing a pile of loonies (Canadian dollars).

Can money make you happy if you spend it properly? Read more about spending your way to happiness…HERE