It’s the quote that’s spawned a thousand memes — “money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy pizza/shoes/ice cream and that’s pretty much the same thing!” But as much as we hit ‘like’ on these posts when they pertain to our vice of choice, deep down we all know you can’t put a price tag on happiness.
That said, a new study published in the journal Nature revealed there is one thing you can spend money on that is scientifically proven to make you happier. But before you run out and buy the new Fenty foundation or Converse One Stars you’ve been eyeing, we’re sorry to say it’s not you.
Nope, according to the study, spending your hard-earned cash on other people stimulates the reward system of the brain. In order to test the relationship between the ‘brain mechanisms that link generous behavior with increases in happiness,’ the study divided participants into two groups. The experimental group were prompted to spend money on other people over a period of four weeks, while the control were prompted to spend money on themselves during that same time.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the study concluded that “generous decisions engaged the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) in the experimental more than in the control group,” and in the striatum – the reward system of your brain – “activity during generous decisions is directly related to changes in happiness.” The people in the experimental group reported feeling happier, too.
The study backs up previous research on the positive psychological impact on giving gifts. If this is all true, we’re all going to be absolutely high on life as the festive season approaches! Want to take those good vibes to the next level? Consider buying your friends and family pressies from these 7 charitable brands that give back when you buy.