Happiness may sometimes seem quite elusive. The past two blogs, Are You Happy? and Be Grateful, Be Happy, show simple ways how we can truly cultivate our own happiness. This blog explores another angle to this topic. Can money buy happiness?
There is a definite correlation between wealth and happiness. The more people make, the more they can satisfy basic necessities in life like having a place of dwelling, food, or living in a safe neighborhood, away from crime. This relationship between money and happiness only holds true for a certain kind of happiness. It is the one that answers the question “Am I happy over-all?” Those with more money report being happier and more satisfied because money helps improve their quality of life, up to a certain point. In the US, the threshold is $50K annual income for a household. Past this threshold, there is very little difference amongst those that make more. Someone who makes $150K is not 3 times happier than one that makes $50K.
The second and more important barometer of happiness is the one that measures how happy we are moment to moment in our daily lives. It answers the question “How joyful are you?” In this case, money has a smaller impact on our feelings on how we actually live our lives, unless….
Unless, if you spend your money on others. A simple experiment was conducted where people were given $20 to spend anyway they please. Group A spent it on themselves, like buying clothes, things and other personal items. Group B spent the money giving it to others, like donating to a charitable organization or something as simple as buying a stuffed animal for their toddler niece. At the end of the day, Group A did not feel anymore happier than prior to spending the money. Group B felt a difference; they felt happier. It does not matter how big or small the gesture was, just that the money was spent for others.
It is not a cliché when people say “it is in giving that we receive”. Yes, indeed, the giver feels joy and happiness by the mere act of giving. Giving is good for the soul.
There is joy and happiness in giving.
So, give and give with your whole heart, whether it is your time, your talent or your money. Giving is a true path to happiness.
Do you agree?