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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Surprising truth about money and happiness: It's not what you think

It's a journey of self-discovery, and who knows, you might find that happiness isn't as elusive as it once seemed

By Web Desk
October 03, 2023
Consider embracing new skills, practicing kindness, nurturing relationships, and adopting healthy habits as keys to eternal happiness. Representational image from Unsplash
Consider embracing new skills, practicing kindness, nurturing relationships, and adopting healthy habits as keys to eternal happiness. Representational image from Unsplash

Are you one of those who've ever wondered if "money can buy happiness"? 

Do you often find yourself pondering the age-old question: "What's the secret to a truly fulfilling life?" 

Well, today, we're going to explore these questions together through some fascinating case studies that shed light on the intricate relationship between happiness, relationships, and financial success.

Meet Dave, a real go-getter. For most of his life, Dave was convinced that a million dollars would be the key to his happiness. 

He believed that having more money would bring him the freedom to retire early, the security to support his family, and the comfort of buying all the things and experiences he desired. But then, Dave stumbled upon Yale's renowned happiness class, "The Science of Well-Being," taught by Laurie Santos. 

The course delves into the psychology behind what truly makes us happy.

The key takeaway? 

Money, while important, doesn't hold the ultimate key to happiness. 

Research suggests that the correlation between income and happiness reaches its peak at around $75,000 a year. 

Beyond that point, the impact of wealth on happiness becomes relatively minor. Instead, Laurie Santos emphasises the significance of practices like meditation, gratitude, and nurturing social connections. So, while Dave hasn't entirely given up on the idea that money can make him happy, he's started to shift his focus toward these more meaningful pursuits.

But what about the age-old debate: experiences vs. things? 

That's where our next case study comes in. 

Elizabeth Dunn, a happiness researcher, co-authored a book called "Happy Money," and she believes that spending money on experiences tends to bring more happiness than accumulating material possessions. 

However, Dave raises a valid point - don't things generate experiences? The answer, according to Santos, lies in how mindfully you approach your purchases. If you focus on the experiences that a new car or a luxurious vacation can offer and savor those moments, it can indeed contribute to your overall happiness.

So, where does that leave us? Does money really make you happier? Well, maybe just a little bit. 

If you're struggling to make ends meet, a financial boost can certainly alleviate some stress. But for the rest of us, it might be time to reconsider our priorities. 

As you navigate your own path to happiness, consider Dave's journey of embracing new skills, practicing kindness, nurturing relationships, and adopting healthy habits. 

It's a journey of self-discovery, and who knows, you might find that happiness isn't as elusive as it once seemed.