It seems to be human nature to compare everything. I see my two daughters doing it every day; “but she has more sweeties dad!”. Heaven help me if I don’t ensure that both girls have exactly the same size piece of cake. Adults are not immune and past studies of happiness have shown, rather cynically, we’re happiest when we’re doing better than our peers. This is a rather secular point of view on happiness and does not include any spiritual dimension that might mitigate against our urge to buy a bigger TV. Anyway, the point is that we do tend to compare what we have with what our peers have, and if we think they are better off we are miserable.

An interesting piece of research from Cornell University thankfully suggests, however, that we are not doomed to an endless cycle of buying bigger and better television sets. We just need to focus on creating memories rather than buying stuff. And experiences are green you know, they don’t land up on the rubbish tip as every thing else does. The report states that  the “satisfaction we get from buying vacations, bikes for exercise and other experiences starts high and keeps growing. The initial high we feel from acquiring a flashy car or megascreen TV, on the other hand, trails off rather quickly”.

I’m really glad to hear this as I now feel a whole bunch better about spending money on sports gear and adventure holidays. You can read the rest of the report on PhysOrg.com