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Healthy Investments In Happiness

Who says Money Can’t Buy Happiness? Well, just about everybody actually…but AskMen.com has a list of options that might prove the old adage wrong..Check out these modestly priced moments of happiness. (AskMen.com)Tickets to your local comedy club: Laughter is the best medicine. We’ve heard this expression time and again — and yet it never ceases to become false. Let’s face it: We’re talking about ways to improve happiness here! What better way to bring a smile than to spend a night out on the town laughing? But humor brings benefits beyond just happiness. Research has also shown that humor improves work satisfaction, so don’t discount humor from the workplace either.

A gym membership: OK, gym memberships are expensive. Exercise is everywhere around us, so why bother forking over the extra cash? While that’s true to some extent, the monthly fee for membership, along with the community vibe and the people you meet at most gyms, can be powerful motivators to get you exercising. Not only will exercise improve your happiness, but it will improve your general health and self-esteem, too. All of this may lead to other unseen benefits. Maybe you’ll finally land that new promotion, or better yet, that cute girl from the coffee shop.

A new suit: When was the last time you put your suit on and took a hard, long look in the mirror? Maybe you’ve had a few too many beers of late or maybe those trips to the gym are finally paying off. Either way, if it’s been a few years since your last suit purchase, chances are that you need a new one. But what does this have to do with happiness?

A new bed: We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping, and there are some major reasons for doing so. Sleep improves learning and memory, increases metabolism and regulates weight, contributes to your safety (think falling asleep on the road), lowers irritability, increases cardiovascular health and decreases disease. So, yeah, it’d probably help if your bed was comfortable.

Meditation classes: Fact: We all need to learn to relax. Although you may think that your Monday-night TV rituals qualify as quality relaxation, you’re probably mistaken. True relaxation takes learning. So why not put your dollars to good use and enroll in meditation classes? Evidence continues to pour in on the positive benefits of meditation, ranging from reducing stress to improving mood. Not only will you learn how to get in touch with your inner self, but you’ll probably make a new friend or two. A class environment is a great opportunity to socialize and nurture relationships — two different influences of happiness.

A guitar: OK, you don’t have to go out and buy a guitar. Maybe you want to rock a saxophone instead. Or maybe you want to try rock climbing, cooking classes or knitting. The idea here is that you’re investing in yourself. Not only are you setting goals and achieving them by trying a new hobby, but you’re experiencing something. And remember: experiential purchases tend to improve happiness more than simple material purchases.

Dinner for a friend: “Humanity is the virtue of a woman, generosity, that of a man,” said Adam Smith. If the father of modern capitalism thinks giving is a good thing, maybe you should too. Why? Because science tells us that giving makes us happier. Prosocial spending (spending on gifts for others or donating to charity, for example) tends to improve happiness over self-spending. Not only does prosocial spending directly improve our happiness, but the friendships created from your kindness may reap other unseen rewards.

A new sound system: Not a big fan of music? Maybe it’s time to reconsider. Research consistently shows that listening to music can improve mood and happiness. In fact, it turns out that experiential purchases (purchases that allow you to experience something) increase happiness more than simple material purchases. So, let’s say you’re deciding between a new watch and a new sound system — the choice should now be clear. While that old-school AM/FM CD stereo that you picked up from a now nonexistent electronics store kicked some serious tail back in the ’80s, sound systems nowadays can service multiple different sound sources, making them well worth their cost.

A monthly planner: It’s no secret that stress can kill your happiness buzz, especially the day-to-day stress we all experience from home, work and relationships. But what influences this stress and how can we counteract it? Much of our daily stress comes from a lack of organization, particularly work organization. By keeping organized, you’ll have done your best to avoid daily stress. A monthly planner will also allow you to clearly outline your goals and track their progress. Setting goals and achieving them is another proven path to happiness. Who doesn’t like taking a red pen and drawing a big fat line through an important goal? Next!

A vacation: Want to buy happiness? Just go on vacation! OK, that’s not entirely true. Research from the Netherlands on 974 vacationing Dutch showed that participants were no happier after returning home from a vacation than they were before they left, even among those who felt that their vacation was ‘relaxing

 

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