You can thank Dan Ariely for this tip on how to increase your level of happiness.
My aunt gave me some money for my birthday. Since she wasn’t sure about my likes and dislikes, she said to spend it on something that would make me happy. Do you have any advice on how to choose? —Katy
And Dan’s response:
While I’m sure there are many items that would make you happy, spending the money on someone else could make you even happier. In an experiment, researchers gave participants either $5 or $20. They then randomly asked the participants to go about their day and spend that money either on themselves or on someone else. Later, the researchers asked them about their happiness. Those who had spent the money on someone else, regardless of the amount, reported feeling happier throughout the day.
But what to buy these other people in order to get both the glow from gift-giving and something that they will like? A different set of researchers asked people to name the last gift that they had received and say how happy they were with it.
Though gift recipients were happy with items that they had wanted, on average they were even happier with unexpected and surprising gifts. These made them appreciate the thought from the sender and got them to experience something new. Hopefully, your aunt will also appreciate how you choose to spend her gift money.
Maybe you see where this is going – I want to help you on your road to becoming happier.
It’s pretty simple.
Just send me cash or a check made out to Jim Borden and mail it to me at Villanova University.
Imagine how happy you’ll feel.
And to paraphrase Jimmy Buffett, I will be sure to spend that money foolishly.
P.S. Feel free to put yourself on some sort of monthly happiness plan…
*image from Ticketmaster