Here's another article reinforcing the idea that, once basic needs are met, money doesn't buy happiness. The article has lots of interesting tidbits. For example:
Research shows that people in rich countries are not happier than those in poorer ones.
"During the 1980s, the West Germans had double the incomes of the poor Irish, who year after year reported more satisfaction with their lives," said David Myers, a sociologist at Hope College in Michigan who authored the 1993 book "The Pursuit of Happiness."
And this snapshot of the happiness/wealth ration in the US over the last fifty years:
De Graaf notes that the number of Americans calling themselves "very happy" peaked in 1957 at 35 percent and has declined to 30 percent today, according to happiness data from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
Over the same period, average annual after-tax income in constant dollars has more than doubled as the rich got richer and more women entered the labor market.
And then of course there's that pesky hedonic adaptation and social comparison!
One reason we like to chase money and possessions is because of that temporary rush we get from landing them. But the thrill fades in what economist Richard Easterlin calls "hedonic adaptation and social comparison." In other words, once you get the goodies, they quickly become old hat and you want more.
The article makes an interesting point that a hyper-focus on material things has a lot of downside, without much upside.
Gregg Easterbrook explored this gap in perceptions about money and happiness in his book, "Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse."
"Envy and dissatisfaction come from lacking what others possess, but coming into possession of those things does not confer happiness," Easterbrook explained in an interview published in BookPage.
"Seeing the BMW may make you feel unhappy, but psychological studies show obtaining the BMW would not make you happy."
Also interesting is the idea that a huge factor in happiness is truly buying into the fact that you're not going to get it from money.
Research shows that some things have high odds of improving mood and increasing life satisfaction: Ranked No. 1 is "Realizing that enduring happiness doesn't come from financial gain.
Not only can a focus on money keep us from feeling happy, it can also have a very real negative impact.
In fact, a focus on money can be a formula for depression and anxiety. Richard Ryan, a University of Rochester psychology professor who has studied how the desire for money affects mental health, said surveys of college students show that those putting the most emphasis on materialism scored the highest in measurements of those afflictions.
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