We’ve all heard the common ideology that experiences are better than things and most likely you have nodded your head in agreement to this idea at some point in your life. You probably agreed because you believe it to be true and perhaps even practice it, but have you ever examined why experiences are better? If you are shrugging your shoulders and moving your head from side-to-side you are in precisely the same position that I was a day ago when I began this post.
The psychology of happiness is a difficult concept to explain, its subjective and completely different from person to person and even from day to day. While happiness tends to be an elusive creature, experiences are even more so. Experience has a murky definition as well, it can be as small as a friend walking with you around a park or as life-changing as jumping out of a plane or even clutching the tiny hand of your new born child. The spectrum of experiences is as vast as the universe and while experiences, like most things, can be both good and bad, they are unique in that no matter the quality you will always gain something. If the connection between experiences and happiness still seems as blurry as your recent eye exam, here are Five Reasons Why Experiences Make You Happy.
1) Experiences Can Teach You A Thing Or Two
Trying something new can be down right petrifying, but it can also be immensely rewarding. Embarking on an experience that gets you out of your comfort zone may teach you a new skill like painting or dancing, or may help highlight a natural talent that had been previously undiscovered. Experiences also have a tendency of building upon one another, so a skill you learn while climbing your first 14er, like camaraderie, may help you with any later experiences you chose to tackle. While learning seems the unlikely key to happiness (thanks to all those grueling years of schooling) understanding can actually create a sense of pleasure, self-satisfaction and happiness that few other things can.
2) Past Experiences make Lasting Memories
Where the purchase of things may often result in buyers remorse, experiential items like travel or sky diving have been shown to be more satisfactory long-term. With the purchase of an experience you are investing in a memory, one that will surely last you longer than any pair of shoes or fitted blazer. Experiences will leave you with a life to reflect on and a throng of memories that you can look back on fondly. Those who invest in experiences will find their memories a source of continual happiness.
3) Experiences Will Introduce You To A Plethora Of People
Leaving your circle of friends and family can be a daunting task, but you owe it to yourself to meet all kinds of people and enjoy all kinds of experiences. If breaking out of a rut is what you need, try something you’ve never done before, take a cooking class or belly dancing lessons, you’ll learn something new (which we know makes people happy) but you’ll also meet new people. Who knows, you may even stumble upon a long lost twin, or meet your soul mate. Humans are social creatures by nature, stretch those social limbs and make yourself happy through meeting new people and making new friends.
4) Experiences Can Act As An Escape From The Norm
We can all pretend like it’s not true, but fact is fact, sometimes we need to escape. While solace in a book may often be the answer, experiencing something new will give you a well-needed respite from the daily grind. Monotony and contentment are two things to be very wary of. Aim rather for adventure and bliss- both of which can be gained through escaping daily life and experiencing something new. Luckily in Colorado, the combination of mountains and urban landscapes make finding new adventures easy.
5) Experiences Are Simply Put… Fun
Experiences are whatever you want them to be. If your happiness is found on the golf course with the whopping noise of a golf ball and club, let that be your experience. If instead, you want an adventure like ice climbing or hang gliding, take the leap (quite literally) and invest in those experiences. Experiences are those moments you look back on with a smile and a sly nod and say to yourself or your buddies: Yep, I actually did that.
Happiness can be found in the most unlikely of places and while doing the most unlikely of things, you just have to be willing to go outside and experience life.