money buys contentment

People always say that money can’t buy happiness, but can it help?  A new study found that while money cannot buy happiness, it can contribute to an individual’s overall life evaluation (i.e. looking at where your life is compared to where you want it to be) but has little to moderate effect on positive or negative feelings about your life.

The study used the Gallup World Poll (the “first representative sample of planet Earth”) to look at the standard of living, life satisfaction, and positive and negative feelings across the globe.  Importantly, the study examined what this means for individuals living in both wealthy and poor nations.  What it found was that a higher income does play a part in overall life satisfaction because one’s daily basic needs are met but does not necessarily effect ones positive feelings like enjoyment or happiness.  Happiness seems to depend on social and/or psychological factors, like having a strong network of family and friends that are reliable or having the respect of the community.  Sure, making a lot of money can get you all the material possessions you want, but these items don’t bring joy and happiness, social interaction does.

The study does note that in order to gain a better understanding, more research needs to be conducted looking at longer durations of time — this survey was only taken one time and as we know, moods shift.  The study also found that people preferred to live in wealthier nations and that individual governments should not only look to increase their economic status but also look to improve the social and psychological well-being of its people.

It has been assumed that money can buy happiness but in reality it really only makes ones quality of life increase, regardless of your definition of that.  Enjoyment, happiness, joy and other positive emotions come from support and interaction within your community and family.

Everyone is on the pursuit of happiness but seeking it out could backfire.  Examine what your wants and needs are in life, take a good hard look at those around you who are supporting and helping you along they way…you might just have everything it takes to be happy after all.