According to the research Mary Holm presents in her book “Rich Enough?” (affiliate link) experiences contribute more to people’s happiness than things. While there is an initial spike in happiness with a new thing, it quickly wears off as the thing is incorporated into life and loses its luster. When a new edition of the thing comes out, people become dissatisfied and unhappy with the edition they have. (Think iPhones or shoes where new editions are released every year just to keep sales up for the companies behind those products.) Experiences, on the other hand, allow one to savor the moment while being in it and then to relive those moments for future happiness.
Other Benefits of Experiences
With new experiences comes new knowledge. You’ll be contributing to your overall creativity quotient. If you have these experiences with other people, you’ll be improving your human connections. You may even find an activity that you enjoy so much that you want to keep it u long after the initial experience is over.
Items to Help Remember
Sometimes you need an item to help you remember the experience. Paul Draper illustrates this in his Cabinet of Curiosities videos he makes for Patreon members. He uses the items he has acquired to illustrate and help him make his stories come to life. Each detail preserved in the items is another story. (You can join his Patreon and enjoy these videos, too.) This is the idea behind getting souvenirs when you’re traveling; they help you remember the good times.
Items to Help You Engage
If you’re a little shy or hesitant to engage in an activity, having a reason to participate can push you into a new situation, even when it’s uncomfortable. Many people use a stuffed animal friend for photos and vacation help. When it’s hard to do something by yourself and you can’t find a friend to help, a stuffed animal plushie could be just what you need. (We recommend handmade penguins.) Then you can join the community of plushie travelers, models and foodies on Instagram. Plus, they can help you remember your vacation better when you get home.