The Behavioural Insights Team, otherwise known as the ‘Nudge Unit’, is a government initiative designed to encourage the people of Britain to take their health and happiness into their own hands.
The Nudge Unit hopes to tackle public health issues such as alcohol abuse and obesity through the power of suggestion rather than laws and regulation.
The team’s newest theory is that money can make you happy as long as it is spent wisely – an idea based on an article by American psychologists Elizabeth W Dunn, Daniel T Gilbert and Timothy Wilson. The theory is due to published next year as a book called ‘Happy Money’.
They say that it is out-dated and limiting to believe the best things can’t be bought. People who have money don’t just have flashy cars and extravagant mansions, they also have more free time and access to better medical care than less well-off individuals.
“Money can buy most, if not all of the things that make people happy,” the authors write – “and if it doesn’t the fault is ours.”
The article outlines a number of key ways to spend money in a way that promotes long-lasting happiness.
One way to buy happiness is to avoid spending money on material objects like clothes and gadgets, and instead buy experiences. Buying things like holidays, days out and educational courses helps to expand the mind, builds memories and ultimately boosts happiness. Although a new laptop, or a video game might make you feel good for a few days or weeks – how long will that happiness last, and will it make you healthier?
The article also recommends spending money on other people rather than yourself and to delay gratification whenever you can.
If you think money lies at the route of your mental or physical health problems, it could help to rethink how you spend it.
To find out how counsellors help clients deal with financial problems, please visit our Debt page.
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