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The Research Behind Why Experiences Make Us Happier Than Things
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The Research Behind Why Experiences Make Us Happier Than Things

Experiences make us happier than things, according to science.

“The good life, in words, may be better lived by doing things than by having things,” psychologists Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich first wrote in their research paper titled To Do or To Have? That Is the Question.  

It’s not a new concept. The New York Times reported on this research all the way back in 2004. In more recent years, The AtlanticFast Company, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and others have all reported the value of having experiences versus owning things. Our experiences help define who we are and connect us to others. In short, they make us better people.

We’ve compiled some of the research produced about the topic in the following infographic.

Gift experiences, not things infographic

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About the Author

Jack Weinstein

Content Production Manager

Jack has spent his professional career as a writer and editor. Before joining Rustic, he worked as a journalist in Kansas and Colorado, taught English in Swaziland, and transitioned to marketing roles in the Boston and New York startup worlds. Jack is excited to channel his love of storytelling and his appreciation for education as Rustic’s Content Production Manager. When not working, Jack is either watching baseball or planning his next adventure. Jack and his wife, Blythe, live in Brooklyn.