Couchsurfing is all about sharing moments, being curious, staying open, and leaving things better than you found them. And now science proves that experiences like this hold the key to our happiness! While accumulating stuff might give people short-term bursts of energy, relating to other people and sharing adventures produces better results where contentment is concerned long-term.
In other words, spending money on (having) is less valuable than spending money on (doing). For example, spending money on plane tickets to travel will lead to longer term happiness than, say, buying a new outfit or even a car.
From a recent article in FastCoExist, The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things:
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.
Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
In Golovich’s recent study and past research, people are also more excited by the anticipation of experiences than they are of a material purchases.
Golovich makes a good final point:
“We consume experiences directly with other people. After they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”
Couchsurfers understand that the value of experiences is that they are shared – and they don’t even have to cost money.
Time to plan your next adventure? Get out there and Couchsurf!