Are lottery winners happier? Here are some tips from happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller "Stumbling on Happiness." He gives his ideas on how we can improve our happiness levels. See if you agree:
# 1. Buy more experiences and fewer material goods. This means we should go to more amusement parks and take more vacations. Buy fewer cars and new TVs.
# 2. Use your money to benefit others rather than ourselves. It seems giving is better than receiving. Giving improves social relationships, and our relationships are key to happiness. Giving makes us feel the relationships will continue, which bolsters well-being.
# 3. Buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones. When it comes to happiness, frequency beats intensity. One reason is that we're less likely to take for granted all the little things affecting us, than we are of the one, big rare event.
# 4. Forget extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance. Research shows we deal with bad events much more effectively than we think. Often we buy insurance to make us feel better, not because we couldn't actually afford to replace the item. And extended warranties are acknowledged to be a poor investment.
# 5. Delay consumption. Anticipating pleasure can sometimes be more enjoyable than the event itself. By delaying the good things we increase happiness.
# 6. Consider how smaller features of purchases may affect our day-to-day lives. Buying a summer cottage seems great -- because at a distance we don't think about repairs, a leaky roof, and mosquitoes. A bigger home may seem like a better deal, but if the fixer upper requires trading Saturday afternoons with friends for Saturday afternoons with plumbers, it may not be such a good deal after all.
# 7. Beware of comparison shopping. The truth is that most of the options we compare will end up having no difference in our enjoyment of the item six months from now.
# 8. Pay close attention to the happiness of others. Research suggests that the best way to predict how much we will enjoy an experience is to see how much someone else enjoyed it.
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