Fixing the Meaning of Happiness

Last week, I completed the Introduction to Psychology course taught by Paul Bloom. The reading material had some interesting facts about happiness – I had to share those.

I bookmarked one page after reading it.

By the way, you can take the course here if you wish. Or, simply click here to read the page that I’m talking about.

Here are some parts that I found to be really true. I could only nod in agreement while reading these lines.

On money:

Wealthy nations tend to have higher average life satisfaction than poor nations, but the United States has not experienced a rise in life satisfaction over the past decades, even as income has doubled.

The goal is to find a level of income that you can live with and earn. Don’t let your aspirations continue to rise so that you always feel poor, no matter how much money you have.

Research shows that materialistic people often tend to be less happy and putting your emphasis on relationships and other areas of life besides just money is a wise strategy.

Money can help life satisfaction, but when too many other valuable things are sacrificed to earn a lot of money—such as relationships or taking a less enjoyable job—the pursuit of money can harm happiness.

Now, I cannot disagree with that.

While money is undoubtedly important – once we earn a satisfactory amount, its role decreases in our happiness.

Then we find other aspects of life that seem more valuable – like friendships and strengthening our existing family relations.  

On materialism:

It is important to always keep in mind that high materialism seems to lower life satisfaction—valuing money over other things such as relationships can make us dissatisfied. When people think money is more important than everything else, they seem to have a harder time being happy.

And unless they make a great deal of money, they are not on average as happy as others.

Perhaps in seeking money they sacrifice other important things too much, such as relationships, spirituality, or following their interests.

Or it may be that materialists just can never get enough money to fulfill their dreams—they always want more.

I’d written about materialism here, and I still believe that too much of it can be emotionally deteriorating.

The takeaway?

Surely go for your dreams and aspire for more, but don’t let the never-ending wants leave you hollow from within.

Take a look at this little list of questions. Asking questions as simple as these can keep us from confusing the wrong things as sources of happiness.