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The Secret To Happiness? Science Says Spend More Money On Experiences Than Things

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Even in rough economic times, you’ll always find yourself a little cash to spare. You have been working so hard, and you want to reward yourself for everything you’ve done as of late. Should you spend it on a material object like a piece of jewelry or an experience, such as a weekend getaway? Psychological research and science say that experiences like traveling make people a whole lot happier than material things. Keep scrolling down, to find out why it’s really better to “collect memories than things”.

We are inundated by the idea that money can buy happiness

Everyone likes to buy things – at least that’s what we think we do. Like it or not, it is bred into us. Life in the 21st century is a consumer-oriented and fast-paced experience where media bombards us with the idea that happiness is just a matter of wearing the trendiest clothes, driving the finest car, buying the perfect house and posting status updates on the latest cutting-edge gadgets. Wherever we look, we are deluged with the same message – you need to BUY your way to happiness.

But, as the old and wise adage says, “Money can’t buy you happiness”. Wasn’t that the moral lesson of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”? In this 1843 novella, Ebenezer Scrooge had all the money in the world, and yet he was still a miserable and lonely old prick. Sounds eerily, familiar?

As recent scientific studies have shown, if you don’t want to end as miserable as Scrooge, you should be investing on experiences rather than things. Okay, science didn’t exactly put it like that, but you get the point.

The paradox of material possessions

A recent study conducted by the San Francisco State University discovered that people who spent their earnings on experiences were happier and felt their money was well spent than those who collect material things.

Ryan Howell – a psychology assistant professor of the said university – through his findings, discovered that the initial thrill of buying stuff like a new iPhone fades over time, as people become accustomed to seeing it on a daily basis.

Dr. Thomas Gilovich – a professor of psychology at Cornell University – also believes that material things only give people a temporary source of happiness. For years, Gilovich has been looking for a link between happiness and money. And after over a dozen of years of research, Gilovich reached a straightforward and powerful conclusion – do not spend your money on material things.

“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed” said Gilovich. “But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them”, he added.

The problem with buying stuff is that the happiness they give usually fades quickly. There are 3 critical reasons why material things easily lose their charm:

  • People get used to new things – As stated by the experts above, what once seemed exciting and novel can quickly become the norm.
  • People keep raising the bar – New material purchases typically lead to new expectations. Then, as soon you get used to a new possession, you look for an even better one.
  • Keeping up with the Joneses – By nature, material possessions foster comparison. You buy a new car, and are extremely thrilled with it, until a neighbor buys a better one.

Yes, buying a new gadget may be fairly satisfying for a short while, but the thrill will ultimately fade away, and you find yourself back in the same place seeking the next material purchase to keep this kind of feeling going. Then, you keep repeating this cycle, until it becomes an addiction.

If this sounds anything like you, then you should stop shopping materials, and start buying experiences.

Experiences bring memories that last a lifetime

On the other hand, experiences, from minute encounters to epic adventures, provide bliss even long after the events occurred. What’s more, experiences like traveling can become a part of your identity. You are, after all, not your possession, but the accumulation of the things you’ve done, everything you’ve seen, and the places you’ve been to. Buying the latest Android Phone won’t change who you are, but taking a breather from work to hike a steep and scenic trail most definitely will.

So, instead of spending a fortune on a nifty handbag or fancy smartphone, I suggest that you spend money on experiences that will stay with you until your last breath. Traveling, hiking, learning a new skill and skydiving will last much longer than any ritzy jewelry or gadget. At least, experiences and memories last longer, when it comes to happiness.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” Gilovich said. “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,” he added.

In short, an object will become expired or old, eventually. However, memories stay engraved and will bring you joy every time you remember the experience.

Anticipation matters

Gilovich, though his 2-decade research, also found out that anticipation of an experience causes enjoyment and excitement, while the anticipation of obtaining an object can use impatience. In other words, experiences are pleasant and enjoyable from the planning’s first moments, all the way through to the dainty memories you’ll cherish forever.

Disasters are increasing

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the number of man-made and natural disasters taking place every day is noticeably skyrocketing. From tropical cyclones to wildfires, disasters are happening everywhere, changing people’s lives in a wink. And nobody, even the wealthiest people on earth, is safe from these calamities.

And you know what that means? It means a lifetime of accumulating things can be lost forever in an instant, whenever a disaster strikes. On social media and local news, we see brand new cars get carried away by floods and houses ripped apart by tornadoes. Trust me, a single disaster can take away all your belongings in a minute.

Your experiences, however, will forever remain a part of you, no matter what happens (unless you have amnesia). You may lose your photo albums, buy you will always remember the sunset you saw in Santorini, the activities you’ve enjoyed on your fist cruise, and the way you felt when you first climbed a mountain.

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Childhood Obesity: Chubby Is Not Equal To Healthy

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Cute is a word most likely used to describe chubby kids, but being chubby may not be cute after all as these kids may actually be among those having childhood obesity without their parents realizing it. Unfortunately, “obese” may sometimes be mistaken as “healthy” as some parents may have the idea that a visibly fat child is a healthy child.

Childhood obesity is believed to be on the rise and this problem is certainly becoming a fat one.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of overweight children under age five in 2010 is 42 million with 35 million found in developing countries. Obese children may likely remain obese as adults and will likely develop health problems like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age according to the WHO.

But childhood obesity can be preventable, and prevention should start even when the child is still in the mother’s womb. The New England Journal of Medicine cites excessive maternal weight gain, smoking during pregnancy and shorter-than-recommended duration of breastfeeding as some factors associated with increased risk for obesity in infancy and early childhood.

During the infancy stage, less-than-12-hours sleep duration is also a factor. As the child grows, other factors come in. Foods high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and micronutrients are widely available and provide a temptation that is hard to resist among children. With these foods around, unhealthy eating habits tend to occur. Add to this is the increasing trend towards lesser physical activity with increased TV hours and with playing time confined to a seat with the entry of video and computer games as well as increased urbanization.

Ask a child about their favorite snack and fruits are rarely mentioned. Try asking a child today about street games like “buwan-buwan”, “siatong” or, “tubig-tubig” and chances are, nobody is playing those games nowadays. Instead of spotting kids running on the streets, you will find toddlers to adolescents making their avatars run for them in “Temple Run” or “DOTA”.

It’s not just the children’s behavior that is to blame but the parents too. Some parents are actually contributing to the problem of obesity in their own children as they spoil their child with food and lots of it. “The idea that a big baby is a healthy baby, and a crying baby is probably a hungry baby who should be fed, are things we really need to rethink,” Dr. Leann Birch, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center in Penn State said.

With many Filipinos working abroad, it is possible that there are also some parents who may make up for their physical presence by allowing a child to watch plenty of TV, or play video and computer games. Many parents become so busy at work that they often find less time with their kids, time which could have been spent for having family walks, biking, jogging and other physical activities.

The prevention of childhood obesity should be a multisectoral effort that should start within a family and should include schools, civil society and the private sector. Parents are very important for prevention to be successful. Early in life, mothers should breastfeed their children. They should promote healthy diets by making healthy foods and beverages available in their homes. The intake of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged. Healthy school snacks should also be served to children instead of packaged snacks. Having family meals together is also encouraged.

Parents should also promote a healthy lifestyle by acting as models to their children encouraging their children to engage in sports or perhaps do physical activities together. Television and computer time should be reduced.

Next to parents, the school plays an important role to reduce childhood obesity. Health education promoting healthy behaviors and creating a healthy school environment should be integrated. School canteens should offer healthy choices too. School gardens can be used as a tool to increase awareness about food origins and nutrition. Sports and fitness programs should be activated. Physical activity should be encouraged among teachers, parents, students and the entire community.

With these combined efforts, it is the hope that this childhood obesity epidemic will be put to a stop.

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My Contribution to Make Philippines a Better Place

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Everyday is an opportunity to learn. To keep myself abreast with new updates in the industry and how to change outlook from being purely an insurance agent or salesperson to being a very effective Financial Consultant: I am to broaden my knowledge and improve my skills. I have to improve myself and be a cut above the rest- not to be a sub-par agent. One who effectively assesses the financial needs of my clients and finds out what they have done and what more they can do to improve the handling of their finances, and most importantly, to remind them of why they worked so hard and thus, guide them to set their priorities right.

My role therefore, is not just to sell any product, but to make them see the value of their human capital-their ability to provide and create what they wanted for their families to have such as to build the house they dreamed of, send their kids to the best schools, go to their dream vacations, do civic activities and give contributions. They all can achieve their goals, be financially secured for as long as they can and work hard.

We the working men and women have to put much value of our life’s potential. With this we have to consider the risk that surrounds us. What are these risks? The uncertainties of what lies ahead us. Uncertainties such as diagnosis of critical illnesses, disability, and untimely death, we don’t like this to happen but if it does, it would greatly affect our ability to work- our income potential and therefore, would be a hindrance to the realization of the goals that we have set or the dreams we aspire for our loved ones. What do our clients have if such events happen? How much do they have? Would it be enough? What do you have? Is it enough? This is where I can give the solutions for it. I am their friend and their Financial Consultant. I will make them see the need, provide them the solutions and make them act upon it. I am therefore not a salesman. I will, at the best of my abilities, create the money my client’s family needs – to unload them of the possible financial burden that they should not experience. We all deserve the best in life. We all are provided with what we need. We have the best resources, the ability to work. And it is our responsibility to be good stewards of these blessings. How well we manage our finances today determines the kind of life we (given the time) and our loved ones will live. Would we allow putting our hard work not have a pay off? Would we just play today and pay it later? What does our client want to be, what do you want to be: A blessing or a burden? What we do today will determine it.

This is my mission. Given this position, I take it my responsibility to let my clients see, feel and act on the best solutions I can give. A contribution we all can take part in changing and making our country a better place not just for our generation, but for the next generations to come.

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“Disconnect to Connect”

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(I read that phrase somewhere in Facebook and thought of it as an appropriate title.)

My two-month old S4 suddenly went berserk. It would turn off in the middle of my Facebook stalking, disturbing my guilty pleasure three times that night. The next day, my boyfriend and I went to Ayala. He would always drop by Data Blitz to check on or buy a game for his 3DS; I didn’t mind because it would give me time to peek through my FB notifications and do mass check ins on Foursquare.

While I was happily doing these, my phone did it again. This time, it would turn off and back on repeatedly. Panicking, I carried my phone like a baby having an asthma attack as we rushed to find the nearest seat. I removed my phone’s battery to save it from further torture. (Pardon me if I sound like an obsessed little girl but I can get really crazy with anything I fancy.)

We then went to Smart to get that certificate that says I’m subscribed to their post-paid plan, and finally to the Samsung shop at Ayala’s New Wing. Being new, this branch was less crowded, we didn’t need a priority number to be assisted. (When this gets published and people discover its existence (whichever comes first, haha) I still hope I wouldn’t be needing a priority number. (Impossible)

The technician told me to back up all my files as my phone may need to be reformatted. Gladly, it still turned on; I hurriedly transferred all my selfies and food photos from my internal memory to my SD card. With a stroke of luck, I was able to do all of these before my phone turned off again.

When we came back to the shop after a wait time of 2-3 hours, we found out that it was only a battery problem which can be fixed by (of course) battery replacement. Because they had to order the battery from Manila (I think), this meant having a dead phone for 7-10 business days. I thought of all the photos I would not be able to take during this hiatus so I decided to buy an extra battery. (Me and my irrational passion for capturing daily memories.)

The technician told me that the reason why my phone kept auto-restarting was overcharging. Yes, I admit to have overcharged it . . . almost everyday. Aside from overnight charging, I also charge my phone while using it. Here are the things that the tech told me to do to avoid this from happening in the future:

1. Turn off the phone (or do not use it) while charging.

2. Do not overcharge it.

3. Once a month, ‘overcharge’ it a little by unplugging it ten minutes after it says battery full. This prolongs battery life. (He used a term to describe this method. With my goldfish memory, I could not remember the exact word. When I downloaded Battery Doctor, I figured it was called ‘trickle stage‘.)

4. Charge the phone when it says battery low (duh). Do not wait for it to be drained completely.

Well these are just basic stuff which I, unfortunately, did not follow.

I am not sure if what the tech said were 100% true and accurate. I learned my lesson though and by following what he said, had more time for things I have not paid attention to before. Now that I have to wait for about two hours for my phone to be fully charged, I already have time to talk to my siblings, do some cleaning or even the laundry, and prepare for the next day at work.

I remember this post that I wrote a few months ago: Nowadays, many people are “participating” more in social networks than in real life. With these sites being accessible anytime and anywhere, everyone is just glued to their smartphone, iPod, iPad or whatever, often forgetting that there’s a person beside them they can have an actual conversation with.

Turning off my phone for about two hours a day has indeed taught me that there’s more to life than my 5″ Full HD Super AMOLED display.

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Sa Tuig 2018, Sugaton Ta Ang Mga Iro

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Tik, tak, tik, tak…2018  nagsingabot na…

ang taknaan nagpangatagak,

may mga saad nga namulak,

may nabahaw ug napan-os,

mga pasalig nga napaltos,

luyahong minuto ug segundo,

miagunto, gikusokuso,

tuig 2017  nagkaawop na,

nagkalanay sa atong mga mata,

tuig sa mga nagtuktugaok nga manok,

mga hinayon, mga  mahilig magminanok,

pag-ilaid sa mga damgong napulak gitagamtam,

nagpasad sa atong pagpadulong sa unahan..

 

tik, tak, tik, tak…

maampingong nangandam, ang iro, alang sa 2018,

kakugihan niyang mamaghot, tataw’ng may gipaabot,

bag-ong  panaad gipangladlad,

sa kasingkasing gibukhad,

pagkamabinantayon hingosgan,

pakiglambigit sa kinabag-an,

paghinultol sa buluhaton,

kakugi, kahibalo’g kamadasigön,

itanom, atong  bugtawön….

 

tik,tak, tik, tak…

sa atong kamot,

sa atong paningkamot,

mautingkay ang nagpaabot,

sa atong pagbuot,

mahimong maharuhay ug maalimuot,

ang gipangandaman tang  umaabot…

 

sa tuig 2018,

tubagon ta ang mga pangutanang nagpaabot

iladlad  ta ang agianang gipanglukot

hala pasudlon ta ang mga iro, panid-an ta ang muabot….

tik, tak, tik,tak…

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