SEL at Home: Money can buy Happiness – when you give it away, that is!

Social Emotional Learning at Home

Did you know that spending money on others makes us happier than spending it on ourselves? People of all ages believe that if we could just have this or that we’ll be happier. Then, we finally acquire this possession and to our surprise, the happiness is fleeting. Soon, the toy or jacket is thrown about, losing its value with every passing day.

Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, social psychologist at UBC, performed a study where she surveyed 109 UBC students. Each one of them said that they thought they’d be happier if they spent money on themselves, rather than on someone else. She then gave 46 other students money and told them to either spend it on themselves or give it away. Surprise, surprise – those who spent their money on others (by donating to charity or giving a gift) were happier at the end of the day than those who blew it on themselves. Plus – the happiness lasted – those who were generous toward others felt happier a week later while those who simply bought themselves a treat or paid a bill felt no emotional impact.

Giving Tuesday is a wonderful opportunity for us all to increase our happiness! As for your kids, letting them know that being generous, even with their valuable time (to help someone else) can make all of the difference to their own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Jodi Derkson, Meadowridge’s SEL Counselor/Coordinator  

Jodi.derkson@meadowridge.bc.ca