Follow these simple principles to live a happy life. Illustration by Uttam Ghosh
Psychologists have suggested eight simple ways to lead a life of happiness.
Buy experiences not things
The secret to happiness according to the psychologists is to buy experiences instead of things, the Independent reported.
The pleasure derived from a new possession has a short lifespan, but experiences can be enjoyable in the moment, and leave memories that are a source of happiness for a long time, they said.
Spend money on others
Another way, according to them, is to help others instead of yourself.
Pointing out that "human beings are the most social animals on the planet", psychologists cite numerous studies that show people who do more "pro-social spending", such as buying gifts and donating to charity, tend to be happier.
"Spending money on a friend or romantic partner provides an opportunity for positive self-presentation, which has been shown to produce benefits for mood. Giving to charity may facilitate the development of such positive self-presentation as well," the paper quoted the psychologist as explaining.
In other words, give money, but make sure people know about it.
Buy small pleasures
Buy many small pleasures instead of a few big ones, the psychologists stated.
"Happiness," the psychologists claim, "is more strongly associated with the frequency than the intensity of people's positive affective experiences."
People are therefore advised to spend their money on series of little treats -- a fancy meal, a weekend break, tickets to a concert -- rather than blowing it all on a sports car and plasma screen.
Buy less insurance
Again, they suggest people to buy less insurance. Spending obscene sums on extended warranties and insurance policies can be a waste of money -- we should instead rely on our innate, primal coping strategies when a something conks out -- they said.
Pay now enjoy later
Their sixth principle is pay now and consume later.
Delayed gratification is a source of "free happiness" that not only ensures our new purchases give us pleasure for longer, but also stops us from buying things on the spur of the moment that will end up making us unhappy, the psychologists said.
Think about your purchases
One of the psychologists' less intuitive offerings involves thinking about the negatives in order to be happy.
Their theory is that if we think about new purchases -- be they a television, car or holiday -- within the context of mundane reality, we may realise that they are not the route to happiness they may have seemed.
Beware of comparison shopping
The psychologists have warned people of comparison-shopping.
"Comparison shopping," psychologists said, "may distract consumers from attributes of a product that will be important for their happiness, focusing their attention instead on attributes that distinguish the available options."
Check what makes others happy
The best way to know whether we are going to derive pleasure from something is to see whether others have done the same, the psychologists said.
The psychologists suggest that reading user ratings on websites is a sure fire way to pick the best films, gadgets, cars and holidays.