Finding happiness, at next to no cost

I find myself deeply enlightened by the stories of resilience among the aboriginals of Australia ("Aboriginals poor but happy to find richness in life"; July 12).

Many of them are abjectly poor and own only the bare necessities in life. Their future seems bleak, but many are happy with their lot and seek to creatively enrich their lives with art, music and stories.

This shows that people can still be mentally rich while physically poor in terms of possessions such as money and property.

It has been reported that in order to be happier and more satisfied, it is always better to spend on acquiring experiences than material goods ("Spending more does not make you happier"; July 13, 2014).

The law of diminishing returns and the idea of the "hedonic treadmill" only mean that we cannot derive any long-lasting happiness from buying products we think will make us happy, such as food.

We could also emulate Mr Peter Zhuo in our own little ways ("The art of spreading happiness"; Aug 16"). He has succeeded in bringing happiness to people around him with his extraordinary ability to draw.

This is exactly what the aboriginals have been doing all this while, spreading joy in spite of the despair that comes with poverty.

Travelling might be a costly way to acquire experiences.

Also, many people often find it even more tiring upon returning home from a long vacation and having to face the daily grind of work once more.

There are many places of interest right in our own backyard, such as the Science Centre Singapore. The many interesting and intricate exhibits there are engaging.

Another path to happiness is via learning, whether it is acquiring new skills or knowledge.

To do this, we can take up courses or head to the nearest library to borrow books at no cost.

Excuses, such as not having enough time, should not prevent anyone from the truly exultant experiences of learning and being creative.

I am currently embarking on a journey to further enrich my knowledge of a few scientific topics, and I find that this joy of learning something new greatly outshines that of, say, buying a new dress, or having a meal at a fancy restaurant.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)