Why several small pleasures beat a few large ones
Researchers have found that the types of purchases we make, their size and frequency, and even the timing of that spending all affect long-term happiness.
One major finding is that spending money for an experience — like concert tickets, Spanish lessons, white water rafting — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.
There are situations where having cash to spend helps, of course, including for those who become sick or disabled, another study found; for them, money matters. But that's a different kind of spending.
The enemy of happiness is adaptation, says Psyblog. Unfortunately we get used to things and they give us less pleasure; after a while we start taking them for granted.
But if you keep doing lots of small, different conforting things, you'll get more pleasure overall and you'll feel happier.
In a recent study, researchers had participants massaged for three minutes. However, one group had a 20 second break in the middle while the others had a continuous massage.
Who had the better time?
The team predicted it would be the continuous massage, but they were wrong. People enjoyed the massage with the timeout more because the break stopped them becoming acclimatized to the experience.
Is this your experience? Is it the small things that matter when it comes to being a bit happier?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money