Study Shows That Buying Experiences Is Better Than Buying Things

Gift-giving this Holiday season? Consider some new research from Cornell University’s Thomas Gilovich, professor of psychology, who says you’ll be more grateful if you buy an experience than if you buy a thing.

While people say positive things about items purchased, they used phrases like “I feel blessed” when referring to trips, experiences or even dining out. Gilovich and his team of researchers looked at 1,200 online reviews. Half were for material purchases, while the other half were for experiential purchases.   They found that reviewers were more likely to spontaneously mention feeling grateful for the experiential purchases.

Through additional research that involved an economic game, they discovered that people behaved more generously toward others when thinking about experiential purchases. So when it comes to choosing gifts this holiday season, don’t underestimate the value of trips, museum visits and dinner invitations.

The Joy of Giving All Year Long

Study after study shows that giving to others makes us happy. Perhaps that why this time of year brings such joy. It’s the only time of the year where giving is a priority.

After the holidays, keep the good feeling of giving alive. Build giving into your way of life. You’ll be happier, more productive and more energized throughout the year. Giving doesn’t have to cost money or even focus on material goods. You can give to others with your smile, a quick “how are you?” a phone call, card or an email. It can take the form of an invitation to lunch or coffee.

The act of giving isn’t self-less. We benefit greatly when connecting with others in ways that make them feel good. Giving can break us out of negative thought cycles. It re-energizes us emotionally and spiritually. It also boosts creativity and openness. In 2017, consciously choose to continue the giving spirit all year long. You get much in return.

Mutual Benefits of Healthy Behavior and Executive Function

It might not surprise you that healthier behaviors are better for maintaining a high functioning brain. As it turns out, your health habits and brain function are in a positive feedback loop. Researchers in the UK and Ireland have discovered a bi-directional relationship between an active lifestyle and the brain’s ability to engage self-control, set and meet goals, resist temptation and solve problems.

The synergistic relationship of healthy living that boosts higher brain function can last into old age. The researchers suggest that these results may explain why those with higher executive function suffer less chronic illness and live longer after a chronic diagnoses.

Unfortunately, the researchers warn that there is likely also a negative feedback loop for people who live unhealthy lifestyles. If you’re sedentary, or you smoke or drink too much, it may be a predictor that your brain’s executive function is on the decline.