October 1, 2015
Travelling Improves Your Health!
Many people are in the pursuit of happiness and while the general perception is that money can make you happier, it’s actually the way you spend your money that will truly determine your overall sense of happiness. A recent psychological study conducted by a New York University suggests the key to happiness is through experiences rather than material possessions. The biggest challenge we face is how to allocate our money effectively, by determining if it’s better ‘to-do’ or ‘to-have’. Once our basic needs are met, purchasing more and more material items won’t necessarily make us that much happier, in comparison to spending our hard earned cash on an experience, such as travelling.
We get used to the possessions we own. While it’s nice to own the latest smartphone, the pleasure we get from this kind of expenditure is often short lived. The initial joy of acquiring a new object fades over time as we become accustomed to seeing it every day. That’s why the expensive CD player you relentlessly requested for your birthday a decade ago, is now just sitting in the garage collecting dust. On the other hand, you’ll continually be reminiscing and sharing your stories from the memories you made on your three-month holiday around Europe, for many years after your trip.
“While happiness from material purchases diminish over time, our experiences become an ingrained part of our identity.”
While happiness from material purchases diminish over time, our experiences become an ingrained part of our identity. We become the sum total of our experiences. The treasured memories we hold are a bigger part of what makes us who we are. From the sights and sounds to the customs and cuisines in a foreign country, experiences can change our perceptions and contribute to our interpretation of everyday life.
An experience such as travelling stays with us forever. The fact that we talk more about our experiences keeps them alive. Our experiences also shape how we relate to new people. If you spark a conversation with somebody you’ve never met, yet they have also hiked the Inca Trail in Peru, you are more likely to relate closer with that person because you shared a similar experience.
“As time goes by you are likely to regret that once-in-a-lifetime trip you never went on, while the expensive jewellery, clothing and furniture may become all but forgotten.”
Even the lead-up to your travels will tend to make your life more pleasant. Pre-travel anticipation is of an equally valuable (or higher) contribution to your happiness as the actual experience of travelling. Having something to look forward to creates a sense of happiness and excitement, more so than if you were waiting weeks for the latest iPhone to be released.
Gift-givers and recipients also tend to feel more connected to one another after an exchange of an experiential gift rather than an exchange of a material possession. Your mum will value the memories created on the three-day cruise you went on together, more than the necklace you bought her 10 years ago that now sits tucked away in a drawer.
As time goes by you are likely to regret that once-in-a-lifetime trip you never went on, while the expensive jewellery, clothing and furniture may become all but forgotten.
So pass up your shopping addiction and treat yourself to an exciting overseas experience. Your life-long happiness depends on the choices you make, so make them count. Spend up wisely on experiences that will shape your identity and enhance your social relationships. Fulfil your dreams by visiting places you’ve always wanted to go.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and live it!