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如何提升幸福感?请家政、打车、点外卖

更新时间:2017-7-30 9:00:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests
如何提升幸福感?请家政、打车、点外卖

It’s a question central to daily life: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money? Well, if happiness is the goal, you might consider opening that wallet.

日常生活中的一个核心问题是:你会为了节省时间而花钱,还是为了省钱而花费时间?如果以幸福为目标,你或许可以考虑打开钱包。

That’s the takeaway of a study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, whose findings suggest that spending money to save time may reduce stress about the limited time in the day, thereby improving happiness.

这是本周发表在《美国国家科学院院刊》(The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)上的一篇研究论文的精华所在。研究成果显示,为了节省时间而付出金钱,或许可以减少每天时间有限带来的压力,从而提升人的幸福感。

“People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction,” said Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and lead author of the study, which was based on a series of surveys from several countries. Researchers did not see the same effect when people used money for material goods.

“花钱买时间的人,比如把不喜欢的事项外包出去的人,所报告的总体生活满意度更高,”论文的第一作者、哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)副教授阿什利·威兰斯(Ashley Whillans)说。这篇论文是以在多个国家的一系列调查为基础的。当人们花钱购买物质商品的时候,研究人员未发现同样的效应。

In one round, Ms. Whillans and her colleagues surveyed nearly 4,500 people in the United States, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands on well-being and timesaving purchases, such as ordering takeout food, taking a cab, hiring household help or paying someone to run an errand. In another round, using a broader definition of such purchases, they surveyed about 1,800 other Americans.

威兰斯及其同事先是调查了美国、丹麦、加拿大和荷兰将近4500人的幸福感和旨在节省时间的购买行为,比如点外卖食品、打车、雇用家政服务员,或者付钱让别人跑腿。随后,他们基于此类购买行为的更宽泛定义,对另外约1800名美国人进行了调查。

About 28 percent of those in the first round and half in the second reported spending money to save time. In both cases, those who made such purchases reported greater life satisfaction than those who did not.

在第一轮和第二轮调查中,分别约有28%和一半的受访者称其会为了节省时间而花钱。两轮调查中,花钱买时间的人所报告的生活满意度,高于那些不这样做的人。

And it didn’t matter if they were rich or poor: People benefited from buying time regardless of where they fell on the income spectrum. (The authors note, though, that may not hold true for the poorest of the poor.)

另外,这一情形无关乎贫富——不论收入水平如何,人们都可以从花钱买时间中受益。(不过论文作者们指出,对极度贫困的人来说或许并非如此。)

“If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and an author of the paper.

“如果觉得有些事项让你充满恐惧,那么或许值得考虑一下,你能否出得起钱,让自己落个清静,”论文作者之一、不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)心理学教授伊丽莎白·邓恩(Elizabeth Dunn)说。

The surveys established a link between buying time and happiness, but the researchers wanted to see whether one causes the other.

这些调查表明了花钱买时间与幸福感之间存在联系,不过研究人员想要弄清,两者之间是否存在因果关系。

So they conducted an experiment with a few dozen Canadians. First, they provided the participants with $40 on two consecutive weekends to spend, as directed, on either timesaving purchases or material purchases, like board games, fancy wine, or clothes. Then, they asked the participants their mood at the end of the day.

于是他们拿几十名加拿大人做了个实验。首先,他们连续两个周末为受试者提供40美元,后者则按照指引把钱用于旨在节省时间的购买行为,或者把钱花在物质商品上,比如棋盘游戏、高档葡萄酒或服装。然后,研究人员询问了受试者在一天结束时的情绪如何。

As the researchers predicted, spending money to save time appeared to reduce time-related stress and increase well-being, while spending on material goods did not have the same effect.

不出研究人员所料,花钱买时间似乎降低了与时间有关的压力,提升了幸福感,而把钱花在物质商品上并未产生同样的效果。

But, despite its benefits, the practice of buying time is not as popular as one might expect, they found. Even among more than 800 Dutch millionaires surveyed, all of whom surely could afford to do so, only a slight majority spent money on timesaving tasks.

但他们发现,买时间这种做法虽然有好处,却不像人们或许以为的那么受欢迎。即便是在参与调查的800余名荷兰百万富翁当中——这些人肯定都出得起钱——也只有略高于半数的人把钱花在节省时间的事项上。

Professors Whillans and Dunn offered a few guesses as to why, at least in the United States: a Protestant work ethic that values being busy or guilt over paying someone for a task that people could easily do themselves, for example.

威兰斯和邓恩就其原因——至少是在美国出现这种情况的原因——给出了一些猜测:例如,可能是注重忙碌的新教敬业精神在起作用,或者是因为人们在很容易完成某件事的情况下,却付钱让别人去做,就会有罪恶感。

“We want to seem like we have it all together and we might be therefore resistant to spending money on timesaving purchases even when we can afford it,” Ms. Whillans said.

“我们想要显出不慌不忙、一切尽在掌握的样子,因此或许会抗拒把钱用于旨在节省时间的购买行为,即便我们有支付能力,”威兰斯说。

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