Are you looking for happiness in the wrong places? Chances are, it’s not in a car, a new dress, or even in yourself all of the time. In fact, happiness comes from others according to Elizabeth Dunn’s study in 2008. She tested the participants in her study by giving them $5 or $20 and randomly assigned them to give the money either to themselves or to others. At the end of the experiment, the students reported how happy they were. They found that those who spent the money on themselves were no more or less happy; however, the students that gave the money to others were indeed happier.
It makes since in hindsight but in the moment, if you were given $20, could you see yourself donating the money to charity or buying a gift for a friend? I have to say, my immediate instinct would be a sad “no.” The study reported that the participants thought they would be happier spending the money on themselves (as I would have thought) but it’s actually quite the opposite.
So the next time you have a little extra pocket money, go out of your way to do something nice for others and see your happiness sky rocket in return. And if you have four million dollars to give, like Whoopi Goldberg here in Ghost, hopefully you’ll be a little more generous than she was; then again, that is a tough check to hand over when it’s four million dollars versus twenty dollars.