What is Happiness? BeyondThePurchase.org Reports The Top Five Characteristics of Happy People.

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BeyondThePurchase.org finds that happy people manage their money well and spend money on life experiences, remember the past positively, are emotionally vulnerable, and are happy where they live.

Beyond The Purchase

Our data shows that happy people appear to live in the past, reliving their ecstasy, but ignoring the agony, of days gone by.

A new research study suggests that happy people live their daily lives differently than people who are unhappy. There are five importance differences between happy and unhappy people based on several recent consumer behavior studies at the academic research website BeyondThePurchase.Org.

Researchers at BeyondThePurchase.org were interested in the characteristics of happy people so they examined the predictors of happiness from 30 different surveys—they measured people’s spending habits, consumer choices, values, and personality traits. Results indicated that happy people make five little decisions every day that improve their well-being.

#1 Happy people manage their money well. Something that anyone can do every day is to make a budget and track their financial transactions so they don’t make impulsive purchases. Research suggests that individual will manage their money better when they have a clear goal—your money management goal could be to pay off a credit card, save for a comfortable retirement, or to start saving towards an emergency fund. Our data shows that if you manage your money better today, you will be happier tomorrow.

#2 Happy people spend their money on life experiences instead of material items. Almost ten years of research has investigated the effects of investing money in life experiences, as opposed to material items. There is now robust evidence that when people spend their money on life experiences they are happier than when they spend their money on material items. However, our data shows that people who habitually spend their money on life experiences are happier than people who tend to buy material items.

#3 Happy people think about the past fondly. Perhaps unique among all animals, humans have the capacity to travel backward and forward in time—to use the “specious present” both to relive past life events and to think about the future. Our data shows that happy people appear to live in the past, reliving the ecstasy, but ignoring the agony, of days gone by. When happy people think about their past they focus on their good memories instead of dwelling on the negative parts.

#4 Happy people “catch” the emotions of others. Some people are vulnerable to experiencing others’ emotions. People who are emotionally sensitive “catch” others’ emotions during joyful (and sorrowful) experiences. Our data shows that when someone smiles warmly at happy people, they smile back and feel warm inside. Therefore, if you pay more attention to the emotions of other people you will be happier.

#5 Happy people say they live in a great community. A person is happiest when three basic psychological needs are satisfied: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Literally thousands of studies demonstrate the positive effect of psychological need satisfaction on happiness. Our data shows that these psychological needs can be met by one’s community. Happy people say that they feel belongingness where they live and that they look forward to coming home when they have been away.

BeyondThePurchase.Org helps people make the connection between their spending habits, financial behaviors, and happiness. To learn about what might be influencing your happiness, Register with Beyond The Purchase, then take a few of our quizzes:

How happy are you these days? Take our Happiness and Life Satisfaction quiz and find out your happiness score.

Some people are gadget heads and some are foodies. Which do you spend your money on? The Experiential Buying Scale provides you with personalized feedback to learn what kind of things you tend to acquire.

How do you feel about where you live and where you would like to live? The Quality of Place scale tells you how satisfied you are with numerous different features of your neighborhood.

You can also learn how well do you manage money by taking our Money Management quiz and if you focus more on the past, present, or future when you take the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory.

These are just a few of the many surveys offered free of charge, where members of the public can learn more about their spending habits, financial behaviors, and happiness.

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Graham Hill
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