At Portfolio we've been saying this for almost 39 years and now, finally, there’s some science to back us up as recent psychological research has confirmed that the key to happiness is through experiences rather than things.
The two decade study, led by Dr Thomas Gilovich, states that the key underlying differences between our value of experiences and objects is adaptation.
“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
The bottom line is that we get used to the things we own, and over time the happiness we derive from physical items dwindles.
However the happiness that comes from doing things actually goes up as time passes because those experiences become a part of us and shape our identity. Just think about how fondly you think back on your amazing holidays stories, often even years later.
Gilovich suggests that instead of saving for a new plasma screen TV, a much sounder path to happiness is to spend your money on experiences, like travel. Even outdoor activities or visiting exhibitions and festivals will make you happier in the long run than a new pair of shoes!
“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
And we don't know what could be a better reason to book your next holiday today! Go on.... Happiness awaits!