In 2020, I completed a course taught by Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University, based on the science of wellbeing. The course was originally created for her students at Yale, but now over 3.7 million learners around the entire world have studied the science and the practice of the good life through the free course on Coursera. She also hosts an incredible podcast to make this powerful knowledge even more available @happiness.lab.
Dr. Santos talks about how our minds are lying to us about what makes us happy. Our minds' strongest intuitions are often totally wrong, and often the things we think will make us happy actually do not make us happy. For example, studies have proven that money doesn’t bring us more happiness after an income of $75,000. Increased income, material items, weight loss, and cosmetic surgery are examples of things we think that will make us happy, but actually do not increase happiness.
Studies show that experiences can make us happier than stuff, even if it doesn't intuitively feel like that. Investing in experiential purchases is a way to thwart hedonic adaptation and sustain happiness. We don’t adapt to experiences!
If you are looking for a gift for a loved one, see some ideas below:
- A special date to a special restaurant
- Concert, show, or movie tickets
- A fully planned day trip exploring the outdoors
- Materials for an art party
- An excursion on a trip
- A class package to a yoga studio
- A massage!
- Enrollment in a course or program… no, for real! If you know a dentist who would benefit from learning to feel less stressed, consider gifting them a spot in the @wellnessfordentists program!
Stay happy, healthy, and safe this season. And invest in experiences!