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Give the Gift of Happiness

03 Dec 2010 | Psychology Today

What to get for that special someone on your list who has everything? It's not an uncommon dilemma.

According to Pew Research, fully 98% of Americans have televisions, for example. Thirty-six percent of us own flat screens. Most of those flat screens were probably purchased by people who already had functioning televisions--which may explain why most American households are home to more televisions than people.

So begin the musings of J. Ian Norris and Jeff T. Larsen in their recent article for the Journal of Happiness Studies in which the psychologists explore the "have-want discrepancies" that affect so many of us in a consumerist world.

Studies show that wanting more than we have is a recipe for misery. On the other hand, wanting what we already have predicts happiness. Once our basic needs are met, experiences actually make us happier than any "thing" money can buy.

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