Friday, May 11, 2012

Buy Some Happiness..... (Gretchen Rubin)

I still haven't finished The Happiness Project. As typically happens with me, I'm reading three books all at once. Usually I'm lucky if I finish one out of the three I'm currently reading.

Anyway- I find myself putting down my other books to refocus on Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project. In the section I'm currently reading, she spends an entire chapter on how money can contribute to happiness. Of course there are many wealthy people who are very unhappy. But, generally, people who have a certain amount of wealth report a greater level of happiness than those that do not. She goes into detail about the research she did on this subject- on a macro-level mostly- comparing wealthy countries to poorer ones. And then she  looked at it on a small scale. For example, who would report a greater level of happiness: the wealthiest person in a small town in Nebraska or someone on the lower end of an affluent New York suburb? Obviously the New Yorker is probably exponentially wealthier than the Nebraskan, however, studies show that comparative wealth actually is a better predictor of happiness than absolute wealth. Gretchen outlines all sorts of examples like this to illustrate her point. Her overall point is that money brings security and security allows for more freedom. This brings happiness.

So how can I maximize on my own situation and BUY some happiness? I'm not wealthy by any means, at least not compared to the average person in southern California. But I have enough money that I'm not on a strict budget (relatively speaking) and I can afford to stay home part time, at least for now. So, how do I BUY some happiness?

So if I were to buy any one object or group of objects to increase my happiness what would it be? This is a question I don't think about much because I am a penny pincher by nature. I am always thinking about ways to save, ways to cut spending, ways to pinch pennies for a rainy day.

If I think about enabling myself to experience happiness by purchasing an object that might guide me toward that end I remember board games. Board games? You might ask. Yes, it is a family tradition on holidays and vacations to get out guesstures (board game version of charades), balderdash, rummikub, and boggle, for example. I can remember many Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday parties with these games as the center of the entertainment. These memories bring me happiness.

Therefore, to this end, I would invest in a set of board games for our house. We have a few lying around the house but not enough to provide choices for a group of friends or family at our house on a holiday. I think I'll buy myself some happiness and invest in a set of board games for the future.

I only have three chapters left of the book to go.