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Money can buy happiness. Here's how.

December 26, 2012|By Alexandra Le Tellier

Feeling guilty about overspending this holiday season? Stop.

Not only did your role as a consumer help the economy -- though, as a whole, we could have done better and might have if we weren’t so freaked about going over the "fiscal cliff" -- but spending money is good for your well-being.

Does that mean money actually can buy happiness? Absolutely, reports AsapSCIENCE -- if it’s spent the right way.

“Instead of buying things for yourself, try giving some of it to other people and see how you feel,” says the narrator in the Dec. 20 AsapScience video. “Studies show that people who spend their money on others feel happier. And while people who spend it on themselves don’t necessarily become less happy, their happiness is unchanged.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge yourself every once in a while. Quite the opposite. If you’re looking for a happiness rush, though, AsapSCIENCE suggests splurging on experiences, not material objects. That goes for big vacations as well as small “daily joys.”

“Many small, frequent pleasures help to get you through the days and encourage change, which stimulates the brain. Instead of buying a $3,000 rug that provides a one-time experience for the next 10 years,” the video advises, “a $5 latte with friends will be different each time, offering unique access to happiness opportunities. “

But should you have trouble resisting the urge to gift yourself with some of the things Santa didn’t bring you this Christmas, personally I would shush that inner guilt complex and go for it. True, a new pair of pants isn’t an experience, but you can feel good -- happy even -- in the knowledge that your splurge is a gift to the economy, specifically the business owners and employees who depend on our dollars for their security.

Win-win.

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Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier

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