In our society money is often seen as the key to happiness, but at the same time we hear that rich people are not necessarily the happiest people. What’s the truth about money and happiness?
Research says no
Each time researchers focus on the link between money and happiness results are the same. Studies show that more money doesn’t bring more happiness in the long run. Deep down we know this, but still it seems like money could solve all our problems.
Real long-term happiness can’t be found in external factors like money or possessions, it comes from within. The only thing you need to do is find it. To a certain extent happiness is a choice, a state of mind. Sometimes it seems like material things like money or gadgets can make you happy, and in a way they do. The only problem is that this kind of short-term happiness only lasts a couple of hours. Once your basic needs are covered it’s hard to increase happiness in the long term.
In short preference drift means that people always want more. Once a certain need is satisfied, a new one is created. This means you’re never truly satisfied. You’re happy with your pay raise, but soon you’ll want more. You like the house you’re living in, but in a few years you’ll want a larger one. The same holds true for technology and gadgets. As soon as you get hold of the latest iPod, Apple creates a new hype and you can’t wait to lay hands on their latest brainchild.
Depending on your attitude money can either simplify or complicate your life. Some people are rich and buy lots of stuff without being materialist and getting attached to any of them, while others never have enough. It all depends on your mindset. Key is to detach yourself from money and material goods. Try to see money as a tool instead of a goal and ask yourself if you could live without most of your possessions. Would you still be happy without flat-screen TV or fancy car? If the answer is yes, you have a healthy relationship with money.
OK, so money alone can’t buy happiness, but can it help? Sure! As research has shown you won’t become a happier person just because of winning the lottery, but you might if you use the money to realize your dreams. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business and the prize money offers you the opportunity to do just that. Search for the source of happiness within yourself and use your money to tap into that. If for you happiness means more time to relax, book a nice vacation or take your friends out to a restaurant. Money in itself should never be the ultimate goal. Use it wisely.