How much pleasure is it to spend money ?

spending-money Money and Mental Health

We work to earn money. After taking care of the usual monthly essential bills and maybe a bit for a rainy day, we have money in our account to spend on what we desire and like to own. Does spending lift our mood ? Make us feel good about ourselves ? The research says yes, but it depends.

Spending our money on product stuff, gives us pleasurable feelings but it may be a brief moment. Spending money on an experience lasts a lot longer, why ?

Experiences are watching a film at the cinema, listening to favourite band at a rock gig, rock climbing in Cumbria or a meal out with friends. Product stuff can be ornaments for the home, clothes, a new laptop or car. If material goods, break, stop working, wear out, need upgrading or become out of fashion, pleasure fades.

For just a minute, think back to what spending has given you pleasure ?Then compare between experiences and material goods. 

Spending money on an experience or stuff gives you pleasure in the form of "excite and delight". When you are under pressure, high arousal stress can trigger "flight and flight" inside your limbic brain.You either feel anxiety or anger to that perceived threat. But that same high arousal can happen when you buy a desired possession. The thrill of the purchase can stimulates the same system as being threatened. Rather than "fear" you feel "excited". The pleasure you experienced enjoying your material goods is "delight".

But that "excite and delight" can fade over time. Our memory may be stored onto our long term memory without an association of a pleasant emotion. But does this happen with a money purchased experience ? 

If we experience a traumatic event, such an difficult and complex pregnancy, the intense fear of losing your baby, the horror of the surgical procedure and feeling helplessness to do anything to protect your baby can trigger Post Natal Traumatic Stress disorder, leaving an enduring painful negative experience. When we spend money to experience intense pleasure such as a hot air ballooning in a crystal clear blue sky across the beautiful english landscape, that intense pleasure arousal, combined with feeling in control of your experience, can passport us to long lasting happiness. Just recalling the event brings back happy feelings, a mood booster ! (Photo by Lloyd Williams on Unsplash)

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World Kindness Day 2020

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Friday, 24 September 2021

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