Can money buy happiness?

by DavalosMcCormack on January 30, 2008

If you had a million dollars would you be a happier person? How much money do you need to make you happy? I’ve heard so many people say, “When I win the lottery I will…” Come on, you’ve said that yourself haven’t you? I wonder, are we happy because we have no worries about money, or can we actually be happy whether or not we have money.

In a recent paper “Would you be happier if you were richer?”, in the journal Science, Princeton professors Alan Krueger and Daniel Kahneman say that our basic satisfaction is somewhat of an illusion because we just don’t think about happiness on an ongoing basis. I mean we don’t take our happiness temperature each day, “Hmm, how happy am I today?”

The fact is even if you win the lottery it is an occasion for happiness at the time, but as your daily routine takes over, and life has its ups and downs, people have good and bad days and return to their regular perceptions about life.

Krueger and Kahneman say once you have met your basic needs money usually takes a back seat. In fact when asked, “How happy are you with your life in general?” folks didn’t have a direct answer, because while people know how tall they are or how much they weigh, they don’t know how happy they are. Why? Happiness seems to be attached to recent events. So does that mean if you are a curmudgeon and you win the lottery you will just be a rich curmudgeon?

Not necessarily! Here we go again. It’s the choices that you make and the way you think about your life that make the difference. You can make yourself happy just by thinking you are, enjoying what you do and not dwelling on negative thoughts!

The guys at Princeton found happiness to be a transitory emotion. It is “how” you live not what you make or what you have. This is science! Having friends, enjoying people, doing things that really satisfy you. In other words thinking about your life and making it the way you want will actually make you happy.

It’s not the money; it’s not about accumulating things, or sitting in front of a big screen TV, it’s getting out and doing things with people you enjoy and that includes the work you do!

So start thinking about how happy you are and appreciate whatever you have and you’ll begin to notice a change in your outlook. It may not be a perfect answer to all your problems, but it will give you a wonderful foundation on which to start.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: