Can Money Really Buy You Happiness?
If you have been asked a question, can money really buy you happiness? What would be your answer? Most of you guys would say “Yes”. And still, there will be a small portion who would say “No”. You can’t buy happiness with money.
This question is not as easy and simple as it seems. Because it depends on different situations and things like your culture, lifestyle, location, and mostly your preferences. What do you prefer in your life and what makes you feel good about yourself.
But before going into some deep discussion, let us first know what actually happiness is.
What is Happiness?
In general, Happiness is the state of satisfaction and fulfillment that ranges from contentment to intense joy. But do you think feeling good all the time is happiness? No. If that is the case, then every cocaine addict is the happiest person in the world. So, anything which is meaningful for you and adds some positive value to your life and you feel good about it, is happiness. And it could be anything, like:
- 1- A Good Relationship
- 2- Your Family
- 3- Getting Better Grades
- 4- Starting a Business
Happiness is something that matters to you and gives you a sense of fulfillment.
Factors Affecting Our Happiness
An American psychologist “Ed Diener” have written the Book “Happiness” after three decades of research. He himself is a very happy person. He came in first in the happiness rating of 80 psychologists. In his book, he has identified the five factors that are affecting or contributing to happiness.
- Social Relationships
- Society and Culture
- Positive Thinking Styles
People who are happy have strong social relationships. Diener conducted a study in which the happiest 10% of participants all had strong supportive relationships. A strong social network did not guarantee happiness, but it was required to be among the happiest.
According to several recent studies, temperament, also influences mood. And Diener discussed temperament theory, which states that people experience ups and downs in response to life events, but that they adapt and return to a set point.
There is evidence for this, but studies have shown that people who have suffered a major loss, such as being fired or losing a spouse, frequently do not fully adapt and may take years to do so.
According to Diener, wealth is related to happiness, especially in poorer societies. Those first few dollars that lift a person out of poverty have a far greater impact on a person’s happiness than a billionaire earning her next million.
Society and Culture:
Society is also responsible for our emotions and how we react in different situations. If we look through the happiness rating by country, Denmark is the happiest country, followed by several European countries and Canada, and poverty-stricken or war-torn countries are at the bottom. Happiness is affected not only by your own temperament or life events but also by the larger world around you.
Positive Thinking Styles:
Happiness is also influenced by cognitive patterns, such as seeing opportunities rather than threats and generally trusting and liking others.
Diener defines positive cognition as having three components:
- 1- Attention (seeing the positive and beauty in things),
- 2- Interpretation (not putting a negative spin on things),
- 3- Memory (savoring past experiences rather than ruminating on negative experiences).
The Science of Happiness (Hormones)
Now let’s talk about some scientific aspects of happiness. Why and how do we feel happy? and what hormones are responsible for that?
The brain regulates the release of chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which communicate with other sections of the brain to either stimulate or relax us. This has an impact on our mood, emotions, and behavior.
The Four Brain Chemicals:
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that regulates your mood, happiness, and well-being.
Dopamine is regarded as a feel-good neurotransmitter, and it helps to regulate your mood. It is also beneficial to memory and motor abilities. It functions as a reward, and the brain releases it when we do things we enjoy.
It allows you to feel:
Adrenaline is a brain chemical that helps in quick reactions in risky or stressful situations.
Oxytocin is the love hormone that can promote trust, empathy, and bonding in relationships.
Happiest Nations in the World:
According to a recent research, Denmark is the happiest country in the world, beating out Switzerland and Iceland. USA holding 13th position and UK 23rd.
While on the other hand, Burundi was ranked as the world’s unhappiest country.
Conclusion: Can Money Really Buy You Happiness?
Can money buy you happiness? YES, but to an extent, if you are living in a poor or a middle-class society. But for rich people the scenario is quite different. They usually have money but they lack certain things which can’t be replaced with money.
If you ever feel like you need money to be happy, then you are living in an environment or society where money is the biggest problem. No doubt, we always need money to survive, to fulfill our requirements and to live a better lifestyle. But if we pursue it as a source of happiness, then it won’t be a good idea.
We human are designed and developed in a way that our desires and expectations are never get fulfilled. We always want something more from our life. We can’t reach the ultimate level of fulfillment and satisfaction. If you are living in a house of worth million dollar, after few years you’d look for a more expensive one. And you won’t stop your desires until you cross Elon Musk and becomes the richest person in the world.
At the end, let me just quote Elon Musk’s words about money:
“Money is just a tool which helps to achieve your futuristic goals”.