As a culture that wraps our happiness up with money, it’s ironic then that most of the research that has come out states explicitly that money doesn’t buy happiness. According to one Princeton University study, the link between income and happiness is mainly an illusion. “Although income is widely assumed to be a good measure of well-being, the researchers found that its role is less significant than predicted and that people with higher incomes do not necessarily spend more time in more enjoyable ways,” states Eric Quinones, who looked at two Princeton professors, economist Alan Krueger and psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman.
So, what does produce happiness? Researchers do point out several factors involved in happiness, such as:
- Developing coping strategies for stress and hardships in your life
- Taking care of your body, including getting the right sleep, eating well, and exercising
- Creating a social support network of friends, family and people you trust to confide in
- Practicing mindfulness: yoga, meditation, or simply focusing on those “little pleasures” that create our days
- Learning to forgive: we let of of pain, anger and hurt when we can forgive those that have wronged us
- Experiences over things: researchers also point out that experiences, such as a first date or a great trip, will bring us more happiness over acquiring more material pleasures.
- Live your values: take a moment to identify what you truly value in life, and see how well your lifestyle reflects the the things you truly value.
We need money for a variety of things in our lives, but when we start to invest all of our happiness in how much we make, what we own, and what we’ll reap in the future, we become contingent on an outside source (money) for our happiness. Happiness is inherent within, and accessing one’s own happiness is personal affair. Hopefully some of these tips will help you design a “happiness program” for your own self.