December 24, 2014

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Research shows that people in rich countries like the US are happier than people in poor countries who are struggling to survive. No surprise. In the U.S. and other wealthy countries happiness increases with income up to about $75,000 and then levels off. Basically, once we are financially secure more money doesn't result in more happiness. What really matters is not how much you earn but how you spend.
"life experiences give us more lasting pleasure than material things" Research by Dr. Ryan Howell reveals: “People think that experiences are only going to provide temporary happiness, but they actually provide both more happiness and more lasting value.” "And yet we still keep on buying material things, he says, because they’re tangible and we think we can keep on using them," according to Wall Street Journal writer Andrew Balckman. Cornell University research psychologist Thomas Gilovich has concluded:  "Experiences... tend to meet more of our underlying psychological needs. They’re often shared with other people, giving us a greater sense of connection, and they form a bigger part of our sense of identity." “Hedonic adaptation” makes it so hard to buy happiness with possessions. "The new dress or the fancy car provides a brief thrill, but we soon come to take it for granted." we tend to compare our possession but not our experiences with other people. “Keeping up with the Joneses is much more prominent for material things than for experiential things,” Gilovich says. “Imagine you’ve just bought a new computer that you really like, and I show up and say I’ve paid the same amount for one with a brighter monitor and faster processor. How much would that bug you?” Conclusion: spend time with family and friends; avoid the (online or bricks & mortar) mall and reduce your impact on the landfill. Happy Holidays!

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