Does Money Buy Happiness?
As the Beatles' song goes, money can’t buy you love -- but does money buy happiness? The answer: Maybe. Recently, researchers from Princeton University surveyed 450,000 people about their household income, everyday emotional states, and overall feelings about their life and well-being. What they found is that happiness increases along with annual household income up to about $75,000, but beyond that, earning more money doesn't affect your emotional well-being.
“Low income exacerbates the emotional pain associated with such misfortunes as divorce, ill health and being alone,” the researchers note, but earning more than $75,000 a year doesn’t necessarily make people like their lives better or make them feel better about themselves on a daily basis.
The good news: You can take steps to increase your happiness, no matter how much money you make. Here’s how:
1. Spend your money on happy experiences rather than material possessions.
Researchers from San Francisco State University found that spending money on enjoyable experiences (like a beach vacation) can make you happier than buying material possessions (like an expensive watch). “People report a sense of feeling invigorated or inspired when they spend their money on life experiences because experiences have a way of creating an emotional reserve or ‘memory capital’,” explains study coauthor Ryan Howell, who has a doctorate in psychology and is an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State. “After an experience, people are able to reflect on their experience and glean emotional benefits” that last long after it has ended.
2. Cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose.
Rather than looking to your paycheck for personal validation, ask yourself: What would make my life feel meaningful? What do I really want? What matters most to me? Then, set goals to help you realize this vision. For example, if you realize that helping other people gives you a sense of purpose, look for new volunteer opportunities. On the other hand, if creativity matters most to you, it’s time to carve out opportunities to write, draw, paint or otherwise engage in an artistic pursuit.
3. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
Whether you're doing something that costs money (like going out for lunch or a movie) or an activity that’s free (like taking a walk or a bike ride), make an effort to do it with positive and supportive people. Not only will spending time with friends make you happier, but “having a positive social network gives you a sense of belonging and makes you feel like you’re contributing to someone else’s life,” says Maryann Troiani, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is the coauthor of Spontaneous Optimism: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity and Happiness. This, in turn, can provide a buffer from stress and make you feel happier.
4. Develop a positive outlook.
Whether you're struggling to get by financially or you’re comfortably well off, consciously focusing on what’s good in your life can engender a sense of optimism and a can-do attitude that will help you handle challenges more easily, regardless of how much money you have, Troiani says. To do this, use upbeat words in place of upsetting words -- by describing a challenge as “an opportunity to make a positive change” rather than “a problem.” Also, consider what you’re grateful for, expect things to get better (not worse), and try to embrace change instead of fearing it. When you think positively, happiness follows.
Stacey Colino has written for The Washington Post health section and many national magazines, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Woman's Day, Self, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Parenting, Sports Illustrated and Ladies' Home Journal.
Available at Amazon.com:
- 5 Fats You Should Eat Every Day
- Does Money Buy Happiness?
- Vitamin Sources From A to K
- The Important Vitamin You May Be Forgetting
- Fill 'Er Up! Protein At Breakfast Impacts Satiety
- Preexisting Conditions Common in United States
- Talking to Teens About Marijuana: 9 Do's and Don'ts
- Break Habits That Harm the Heart
- The Pros of Probiotics: What's Good for the Belly Benefits the Brain
- Get Relief For Everyday Aches and Pains
- Seek Immediate Treatment at First Signs of Stroke
- Healthy Lifestyle Choices the Best Way to Minimize Cancer Risk
- Are Drugstore Blood-Pressure Machines Accurate?
- Get Over Your Childhood Eating Habits
- 5 Tricks That Make Your Dentist Happy
- Could You Have Bad Breath Today?
- Eat Less, Live Longer? Calorie Restriction May Boost Longevity
- How Much Protein Should I Eat?
- Are Eggs Good or Bad for You?
- Good Nutrition Vital to Maintain Healthy Immune System
- Guide to Weight Loss Success
- Eating-right Resolutions for Busy People
- Dieting Do's and Don'ts
- Secrets From the World's Healthiest Countries
- Your Cold-fighting Grocery List
- Why Stress Can Be Good for You
- Living-Donor Transplants Are Becoming More Common
- 7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues Today
- The Dangers of Type D Personality
- Become an Imperfectionist
- 5 Daily Habits for a Healthier You
- Are Germ-killing Products Harming Your Health?
- Get a Step Ahead of Flu Season
- Healthy Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Right Now
- Good Health Is A Sound Investment
- Mushrooms Have Medicinal As Well As Culinary Value
- Healthy Snacks for Energy
- Power Up with Hidden 'Superfoods'
- Strong Relationships Are Good For Your Health
- For Help With Medical Bills Cut a Deal With the Doctor
- Are You Overdosing on Dairy?
- How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy at Any Age
- How the Dentist Helps Your Heart
- Why Stress Can Be Good for You
- The Obesity - Cancer Connection
- The Far Reach of Fast Food
- Skip the Eggnog: These Holiday Foods Are Good For You
- Looking for the Mark of the Mediterranean Diet
- 12 Steps to Healthy Holidays
- Why Power Naps at Work Are Catching On
- Enjoy the Holidays Without Piling on the Pounds
- The Benefits of Indulgence
- The Best Way to Kill Germs
- Best Cold-buster Strategies
- Gift Giving Made Healthy
- Managing Dental Phobia
- Is the Bedbug Threat Real?
- 10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel
- Junk Food Addiction Is All Too Real
- Cranberries: Our Holiday Season's Sparkling Gem
- Foods that Fuel the Immune System
- Powerful Nutrition for Strong Bones
- Bone Up On Bone Health
- Music Only Path to Movement for Some People With Motor Disorders
- Counterfeit Medicines: Health and Harm
- FDA Cracks Down on Caffeine-Charged Alcoholic Drinks
- Fruit and Vegetables: Americans Fall Short
- How to Properly Eat Your Veggies
- Healthy Eating Tips for a Busy Lifestyle
- Top 10 Surprising Facts About Smiling
- Bad Habits That Are Good for You
- How to Decipher Product Labels
- New Applications Turning Cell Phones Into Medical Devices
- The Virtual Therapist Will See You Now
- New Findings Turning Coffee Into A 'Health Food'
- Food Allergies: When Food Bites Back
- Healthy Hot Drinks Avoid Caffeine and Sugar
- Have Glowing Skin for All Seasons
- Best Health Advice I Ever Got
- The Serious Hazards of Soda
- How to Turn Setbacks into Bounce-backs
- Stay Healthy When Everyone Else Is Sick
- How Personality Affects Your Health
- A Sensitive Issue: Salt Restriction
- Would Your Kitchen Pass a Restaurant Inspection?
- Should I Stop Taking B12 Supplements?
- Tap Water Toxins: Fact or Fiction?
- Love Your Liver: Natural Liver Support
- Healthy Eating Guide to Cereal
- Load Up On Vitamin C
- Vitamins That Keep Your Brain Young
- 5 Superfoods You're Not Eating
- Boost Dental Health with Honey and Agave Syrup
- Oral Health Sweet Shocker
Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.