This piece originally appeared on PureWow.com.
A vacation away from it all sounds quite lovely, doesn’t it?
Good news: Science just proved that money can buy you happiness. In Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton discuss how spending money can increase your serotonin. That’s right: You can spend money and reap psychological benefits.
From booking an all-inclusive vacation to ordering gourmet chocolates, see five ways in which opening your wallet leads to bliss.
1. Buy Experiences
You’ve heard it before: Experiences are way more satisfactory than a pair of jeans (unless, of course, wearing jeans is an experience). Turns out it’s not just about the high you get while parasailing. Indulging in experiential purchases makes you a more likable person. Cornell University researchers showed that those who do things instead of just get things are viewed as intelligent, open-minded, outgoing individuals. Huzzah!
2. Make It A Treat
Thanks to technology, anything can be purchased within seconds--which is convenient when you needed toilet paper, like, yesterday, but not particularly rewarding. Well, you get the idea. One study showed that when people were presented with chocolate over and over again, they enjoyed it less (we know, hard to believe, but it’s scientifically proven in the pages ofSocial Psychological and Personality Science). Instead of feeling guilty about noshing on a Snickers every other day, save your money and indulge in an occasional Vosges bar.
3. Buy Time
This one is simple: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, rushed and extremely busy, chances are you’re not smiling much. Your brain processes the concepts of time and money quite differently, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. Thinking about time is linked with our sense of self, whereas money evokes coldness and rationality. Here’s what you do: Use money to focus on time, which will let you prioritize happiness and your social life. Go ahead and hire a cleaning service so you can enjoy the beautiful weekend with friends.
4. Pay Now, Consume Later
Neuroeconomists at Stanford University have evidence that excessive prices evoke physical pain. On the other hand, the region of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward goes off when we start to anticipate great things. Your goal: Put as much distance as you can between buying and enjoying to stream the happiness hormones.
5. Invest in Others
Fun fact: Donating to charity has a similar relationship to happiness as doubling your household income. That’s pretty serious math, if you ask us. What’s more, a study in Science showed that spending just $5 on someone else will make you feel better than yet another latte will.