Posted by Gail | Filed under Life Lessons
More money doesn’t make people happier. While we need to have our most basic needs met, some people go way beyond basic in their desire to buy their happiness. They might be spinning their wheels.
According to a study by an international team of researchers, while wealth does grant the option of buying lots of stuff, it also impairs our ability to enjoy those things we’re buying.
The first study was conducted with employees of the University of Liège in Belgium and showed that the wealthier the workers were, the less likely they were to savor positive experiences in their lives.
In a second study people 16 – 59 recruited on UBC’s campus were asked to taste a piece of chocolate. Before accepting the chocolate, they had to fill out a brief questionnaire. Half the participants got a questionnaire that included a page with a picture of Canadian money while the other half got a neutral picture. Those primed to think of money spent less time consuming the chocolate and were rated as enjoying it less.
Is it possible that because wealth lets us experience the best that life has to offer, it ultimately undermines our ability to savor life’s little pleasures?
Maybe we need to keep the idea of “enough” in our minds as we set out to accumulate money. And maybe we need to see what we do have as having value, as opposed to always pursuing more, More, MORE.
So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlooks.
From time to time we have to remind ourselves of what we have to be happy about. That’s part of showing gratitude, of saying ‘thank you’ for what is in our lives. It’s easy to get caught up with what’s missing, with what we think we need or want. But taking the time to say ‘thank you’, to count blessings, to remember what we HAVE, can take us from desirous to satisfied.
According to Jonathan Haidt, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia and author or The Happiness Hypothesis, “… happiness and meaning come from getting the right relationship between yourself and others, yourself and your work, and yourself and something larger than yourself.”
He also says, “Happiness doesn’t come entirely from within, but if you ever have to choose between changing your thinking or changing the world to make it conform to your wishes, be sure to choose the former.”
Not everything will always be exactly the way we want it in our lives. But it doesn’t matter what life throws at you, you can decide how you’ll perceive it and deal with it. It can be a momentous event or a small setback. You get to decide if it’s going to throw you off track or if you’re just going to climb over the fickin wall and keep going.
Crap happens, that’s life. It’s how you deal with it that separates the winners from the losers, the happy from the chronically miserable, the optimists from the pessimists. You choose.