How Do Relationships and Experiences Affect Happiness?
College of Southern Idaho
How do Relationships and Experiences Affect Happiness?
Happiness is one thing that many people overlook when it comes to how we become happy, or simply put what makes us happy and how the things in life affect our happiness. Some of the things that we may think of when it comes to happiness is the relationships we have in life and the material possessions or the things we experience. Taking a deeper look into these things we will realize some things we never even thought of when it comes to the effect of worldly things on happiness and life. First we must understand what happiness is. Most would describe it as an emotional state of well-being distinguished by positive emotions. How do experiences vs. material possessions affect ones happiness?
Many people tend to believe that money can buy happiness, but others believe that experiences are much more appealing and pleasing when it comes to happiness and would rather go on a vacation or to a concert than have a large house or fast car. It’s true that going to a concert does cost money but not the kind of money needed to buy a house or car. Myers (2000) found that an “estimate that only 10 to 15 percent of Americans think of themselves as truly happy” (56). Does this mean that America as a country is not collectively happy? Or are these self-evaluations incorrect? We need to find out why Americans do not find themselves as truly happy. Some would say that it is because we expect material possessions and money to bring us happiness. I think that when the phrase money can buy happiness is used, it is meant by the use of money when buying large material items such as a car or a house.
This past summer I was able to go to the Jason Aldean concert and Country Explosion, which is three days of concerts. To me, this was one of the best ways to spend my summer days. I got to spend quality time with my family and friends and on top of that, I was able to listen to some of my favorite country artists. At the Jason Aldean concert I was able to go with two of my best girlfriends and a few days before the concert some of my best guy friends decided to come as well. We bought cheap tickets not caring if we would have the best seats. We were just excited to go to the concert. Once we got to the concert we moved to an area where there weren’t many people just talking and having fun in between Jake Owen and Jason Aldean, when this lady came up to us and asked if we wanted floor seats. All we had to do is give her our old tickets and she would give us floor seats. None of us could believe it. We were so close to the stage you could see the sweat dripping off the guitarists face. Obviously we didn’t pay the money to get the best tickets but either way, we were able to have fun when we were up in the stands and also down on the floor. I think that most people would rather spend their money on this type of experience, than they would on a car. I, personally would rather drive my old truck and be able to go to concerts and have experiences like that at the Jason Aldean concert.
In this case, money was used and the result was a good experience and a memory that will last a lifetime. Money can increase OR decrease happiness, depending on how it is used (Myers 2000, 59). This can mean that money can improve happiness or ruin it depending on how you spend it. One thing that this is proving is that if one were to buy a new car thinking that it will bring you happiness, there will always be better cars out there that they will want. But if you spend your money on a vacation, even if at the time is not the best experience, it will always be a great memory that can be talked about and reminisced by everyone who was a part of it. Previous investigation proves that money oriented objects have negatively affected happiness and psychological well-being...
References: Connection and happiness. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/connecting/connection-happiness
Gertner, J. (2003, September 7). The futile pursuit of happiness. New York Times Magazine, 44.
Myers, D. G. (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55(1), 56-67. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.56
Sandler, L. (2011). The American nightmare: We have everything the American Dream prescribed, So why aren 't we happy?. Psychology Today, 44(2), 70-77. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com
Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, materialism, and the pursuit of happiness. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 132-142. doi:10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.199
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