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So…is all this stuff really making us happy?

According to researchers, not as much as we think. A new study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that buying “life experiences”, such as a vacation, actually makes Americans happier than material goods.

“People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experiences will make them happier,” study co-author Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, said in a university news release.

“What they really underestimate is how much monetary value they will get out of a life experience,” he added. “Even though they’re told experiences will make them happier and they know experiences will make them happier, they still perceive material items as being a better value.”

The reason? According to the study, people tend to weigh the economic value of their choices. For example, you know the value of that new laptop. But how to you ascertain the value of a trip to the countryside?

Want To Be Happier? Buy Less Of That & More Of This  was originally published on

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