Does money buy happiness? Yes and no. Researchers have found that money can increase happiness for individuals living in poverty. However, once we are above the poverty level, money doesn’t do much to promote happiness.
Pleasure vs. Happiness
Sometimes we confuse pleasure for happiness. Pleasure is often an intense sensation and short term in nature. Pleasure does not fulfill us; we want more of it. Many people seek to find happiness through material goods or increased riches. While a new toy or increased riches may provide a temporary high (pleasure), they do not result in happiness.
Happiness is contentment and is more enduring. Happiness is fulfilling. We can be happy during periods of pleasureful sensations or painful trials. Happiness is not a derivative of circumstance. Circumstances can make it easier or more difficult to be happy, but they do not dictate the level of contentment we must feel in our lives.
Common Pitfalls to Happiness
Comparison is one of the greatest detractors of happiness. When we compare ourselves to others, there are two outcomes: we feel worse about ourselves, or we put others down to temporarily lift ourselves up. Neither outcome promotes happiness.
Another pitfall to happiness is boredom. When we are bored and let our minds wander, they tend to go to negative, unhappy thoughts. This isn’t to say that being alone or having a “me” day is bad. In fact, having purposeful thoughts and reflection are contributors to happiness. It’s all about controlling our thoughts.
People aren’t born happy. There is no known gene for happiness. Happiness is often the result of small, daily activities compounded over time. These activities include:
- Reflect on past, think purposely about today
- Be in the present – that is where life is experienced
- Appreciate the simple things in life
- Practice gratitude
- Be actively engaged in good works
©2019 The Behavioral Finance Network. Used with Permission.
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