Last week, I got my first paycheck after a significant hike. It made me happy, without doubt, but for all of 48 hours. By the end of the weekend, I was back to wondering what it would feel like if I had a little more money. You know, just a little more. One thing led to another, and it got me thinking - What I really wanted was a little more dopamine. The rush I felt seeing a salary credit is unparalleled.
Is there a way I can make that last?
We all know the feeling. Looking at money has a psychologically-proven effect on the reward centres of our brains. Because when you see money, what you’re really seeing is all the potential it has - the things you can buy, the vacations you can take, all the places you can swipe your card, the food you can eat… This is in fact money buying you happiness.
But our minds have minds of their own. And those scheming little dopamine dispensers in our heads, squirt out a little less of that happy feeling with each passing purchase. Explains why the 10th thing you buy with your salary doesn’t feel as thrilling as the first.
That’s like buying happiness and locking it up with you. And that means you don’t have to go from purchase to purchase to get a dopamine hit every time.Think back to the last time buying something made you happy. Hold on to that feeling, chop it up into little bits, and savour it one piece at a time. That’s savouring.
Savouring is the act of delaying that rush by preparing for it. It’s the feeling you get days before you go on a vacation. Just that, you never actually go anywhere.
It’s setting yourself up for something huge, and just enjoying the wait.
Think about the last time you ordered something online - an actual thing that you can hold in your hands. The wait for it to arrive would’ve driven you insane.
Now contrast this to booking a holiday. Every waking moment would’ve given you something to look forward to.
What you’ve really done is a simple hack that delays gratification, and relies on the power of imagination. You don’t know for sure what wonders your vacation holds for you. And the act of counting down to it is an added thrill.
That’s money buying you a steady stream of joy.
The next time you’re overcome with the urge to hit ‘add to cart’, hold off on it. Maybe put that money into a holiday fund, look up places to stay while the fund grows, or what you’d wear on the flight. And then maybe, you’d agree that money can buy happiness.