Happiness is something everyone wants, but all too few people think about and plan for. Happiness and well-being aren’t accidents or side effects, but something that needs to be a part of a person’s goals. A person needs to take charge of their happiness, not merely hope that it just comes along. Sometimes, this requires education and learning to achieve successfully.
Determining what makes a person happy is the first step and can be intimidating. People tend to associate two concepts with personal happiness: things and experiences.
The Happiness Baseline
Many people start with things they want when trying to figure out what will help them gain happiness. Often the thought is that since items, whether a new giant TV, a new car, or even a new house will last much longer than doing something, it is the better way to spend money and will lead to more prolonged happiness.
However, a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology points out that people become adapted to their environment and possessions over time and the impact it makes to our happiness reduces. We merely stop noticing the things we’ve bought, taking them as the new baseline. We forget how much we wanted the new television, game console, computer, or gadget and only remember that we have it and that it’s normal to have it.
Additionally, significant purchases can also lead to decreased overall happiness because they often have maintenance, upkeep, additional costs, or were purchased on credit. All of these can cause frustration and annoyance down the road. When combined with the lessened happiness from the items themselves, this can be a recipe for reducing a person’s happiness.
Experiences such as attending events, taking trips and vacations, taking interesting classes, or even things like skydiving or bungee jumping are often felt to be less of a value than durable goods.
However, in the study mentioned above, survey responses indicated that after some time, experiences were regularly identified as being a better value than objects purchased, while increasing personal happiness.
Experiences increase the ways a person can relate to others, offering great stories and bonding opportunities that purchasing a new TV rarely does. Experiences are also character building, while a person may struggle to register their new phone, that hardly compares to an escape room, survival course or even camping trip. These are events that will teach new skills, hone current ones and provide experiences and stories that will carry with a person for the rest of their life.
As happiness is not something that one stumbles upon, experiences should be sought out to help us be happy. The Happiness Fest is an experiential learning community with joy and well-being at its core and an excellent opportunity to learn more about gaining and increasing personal happiness.
This event is an excellent opportunity to learn how to increase personal happiness and to spread it to those around you. One of the great things about this festival is that it isn’t just a series of lessons, but is an experimental, experience-based environment to help a person learn and grow.