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Does money make happiness

Money is not the key to happiness. On the contrary, family, marriage, relatives, friends, the social relations network, are important factors for happiness, independent from financial wealth.
Usually people become richer as they age. However this is not necessarily accompanied by more happiness.

More money does not mean more happiness. No one can argue against the fact that a minimum necessary of financial power is needed in order to satisfy basic needs. Nevertheless this level is relatively low.

In people the relativity of their income is more important than its absolute value. People do not feel rich if they do not compare their own situation with others. But no matter how well off is someone financially wise, there is always somebody else who will be in a better situation.

A result of this, is the fact that as soon as people achieve their aims, they immediately put new and higher targets to reach. Automatically the hopes for happiness change level. The necessary precondition to make people happy is then the achievement of these new higher and more difficult aims.

For many people life is a continuous search of what they want instead of being the search of satisfaction and happiness.

The relativity of the feelings of satisfaction and happiness, is well ××××××××ed from studies done in rich and poor countries.

In developed and rich countries like Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America, people are much more rich than people in poorer countries like Mexico and Ghana.

However the level of satisfaction and happiness has been found to be on similar levels in spite the fact that in richer countries, income can be as much as 10 times higher than in poorer countries.

Additionally research has shown that the fourfold increase of the income in developed countries during the last decades, was not accompanied by a significant rise in terms of satisfaction and happiness of their citizens.

Happiness in people influences physical health.

In the countries of former Soviet Union, people are considered among those who are today the less happy. It has been observed that their lifespan shows a continuous decrease.

Interesting studies done in nuns for more than 70 years, found that those who in their youth expressed positive emotions, had an average duration of life 10 years longer than those who had the least positive emotions.

It is certain that scientific research has produced convincing evidence that happiness adds years to lifespan as well as quality to the years that we live.

We therefore see that financial wealth, after a certain minimum, does not offer us happiness and when it does this is little and short-lived.

But if money does not buy us happiness, what does?
Financial wealth, after a certain minimum, does not offer us happiness and when it does this is little and short-lived.
Usually people become richer as they age. However this is not necessarily accompanied by more happiness.

Research done in 44 countries (Pew Research Center) showed that:
The biggest source of happiness is the family

Married people live usually at least 3 years longer and at the same time have a better somatic and psychic health than the not married people

The family in people, increases the feelings of satisfaction and the more time somebody spends with his or hers family, the more there are positive effects to the psychical health and happiness

Economists define as "social capital" the bonds that exist between people and their families, their neighbors, their coworkers, the community and their religious groups.

There is a strong association between the subjective feelings of satisfaction and happiness on one side and the power of social capital of each individual on the other. In fact the depth and breadth of an individual's social connections are the most important factors that predict his or hers level of happiness.

Professional life is a key element for the satisfaction and happiness someone has from his life.

The degree of autonomy in the workplace, the way, amount and rhythm of the work to be done, the trust between employer and employee, the correctness and fairness of procedures, participation in decision making, are important factors related to satisfaction obtained from professional life.

On a national level, when governments give importance to the individuals preferences, then citizens are more happy. The choices offered and simultaneously the feeling of being in position to influence political developments, increase the degree of satisfaction and happiness of the citizens.

In conclusion after these interesting considerations about money and happiness, what can we do to improve our level of satisfaction and happiness in our daily lives:
Initially it is appropriate to make our own self evaluation and introspection. It is important to be satisfied with what we have. Let us look outwards, not in order to compare ourselves with others but to develop social interactions with other people. This is a more secure road to happiness

Let us develop close relationships of friendship and love with people that we do appreciate. We should work hard for cultivating and maintaining our social network. We should not omit regular and frequent contacts with our family, friends, neighbors and friends

It is important as well to try and constrain the penetration of our work into our personal lives. There should be enough time for personal relationships and recreation. If profession is so much invading that it kills all other aspects of life, then an option is to consider changing working conditions or the nature of occupation. Particular attention is needed not to get sucked from a job. Such an eventuality is particularly psychologically traumatic for the individual and can be even more than the loss of a spouse. If free time is available, getting occupied in voluntary work, with the community or with the religion, can be very rewarding
June 30, 2006 -- Money won't buy happiness, says a group of distinguished economists and psychologists.

"Would you be happier if you were richer?" ask Princeton researcher Daniel Kahneman, PhD, and colleagues. Kahneman shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for applying the principles of psychology to economics.

Their answer: No. It's just an illusion that wealth brings happiness.

"When someone reflects on how additional income would change [their sense of] well-being, they are probably tempted to think about spending more time in leisurely pursuits such as watching a large-screen plasma TV or playing golf," Kahneman and colleagues observe. "But in reality, they should think of spending a lot more time working and commuting and a lot less time engaged in passive leisure. ... By itself, this shift in time is unlikely to lead to much increase in experienced happiness."

Kahneman and colleagues' theory appears in the June 30 issue of Science.

Money's Effect on Happiness Overrated

The distinguished scientists look at research into people's reported happiness and life satisfaction. They find that people are likely to overrate the joy-bringing effect of whatever they're thinking about at the time, whether it's money or the number of dates they had last week.

In reality, they say:

Increases in income have a relatively brief effect on life satisfaction.
When countries experience a sudden increase in income, there is not a corresponding increase in citizens' sense of well-being.
Life satisfaction does tend to increase as a nation's per-capita income rises. But there is little increase in life satisfaction once per-capita income goes above $12,000 a year.
Psychological studies show that the wealthier people are, the more intense negative emotions they experience. These studies do not link wealth with greater experienced happiness.
Why does increased income have so little effect on happiness? Research shows that:

Relative income, rather than any certain level of income, affects well-being. If you get richer than your peers, you may feel you're better off than they are. But soon you'll make richer new friends, so your relative wealth won't be greater than it was before.
People quickly get used to all the new stuff their money can buy.
The amount of money people say they need rises along with their income.
When you start making more money, you spend more time making money -- and have less leisure time -- than you did before. "The activities that higher-income individuals spend relatively more of their time engaged in are associated with no greater happiness, but with slightly higher tension and stress," Kahneman and colleagues note.
Focusing on the illusion that money makes you happy may have an unexpected side effect. It may make your life worse.

"This focusing illusion may lead to a misallocation of time, from accepting lengthy commutes (which are among the worst moments of the day) to sacrificing time spent socializing (which are among the best moments of the day)," Kahneman and colleagues observe. "The long-term effect of income gains becomes relatively small because attention shifts to less novel aspects of daily life
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