In Pursuit of Happiness

By Kevin Brown | Bio

It seems that no matter where I turn these days, the search for happiness seems to be on many people’s mind. Perhaps during this time of economic turmoil, people are reconsidering the happiness quotient they attributed to possessions and financial security. In the Telegraph of London, Richard Gray and Alastair Jamieson report that “Psychologists have found that people who spend their money on simple experiences such as going to the theatre, dining out or taking adventure holidays tend to be happier than those who buy possessions, regardless of how much they spend.” They went on to quote Professor Ryan Howell, a psychologist at San Francisco State University, who conducted the study: “In life experiences, the only thing left afterwards is a memory of the event, but this tended to give people a greater sense of vitality and of being alive, which is satisfying to the higher psychological needs that humans have. Material items do not do that to nearly the same extent.”

Certainly, it has been my experience that my memories of times in which I was happy seem directed at events that occurred in my life, rather than focused on possessions that I collected over time. The happiest memories of my youth include going to the zoo, rides at the Calgary Stampede, and sailing off the coast of British Columbia as a Sea Cadet. As an adult, my happiest memories include my honeymoon, the arrival of my son, family vacations and our annual father-and-son trips.

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