Money can’t buy happiness—so what’s the secret?
We might have all heard the saying "money can't buy happiness," but it can still be a hard lesson to learn. Many times, it might seem like if only we had more money, we would be able to have more of the things that we want in life (possibly without the stress).
However, one quick look at the tabloids can show us that that generally isn't true. You might see story after story of actors, actresses, sports stars, and others who might seem to have endless amounts of money, experiencing the same pain and hurt as the rest of us.
Below, we’re exploring possible hidden “sources” of happiness that we can chase in life, all of which can be free—possibly helping you to enjoy a higher overall quality of life.
Tip #1: Don’t worry about pleasing everyone
It can be hard to be happy if you are trying to please everyone else. Many people might fall for the idea that they will be happy if they can make the people around them happy. This can often start in childhood.
For example: You might want to please your parents and do anything you can to make them happy. As you grow up, you might feel as if others put this same pressure on you, such as your. coach, a teacher, a boss, coworkers, friends and significant others. You will generally never be happy if you are living like this.
If you find yourself aligning with this experience, it can be helpful to remember that people's wants might continue to change over time—and many people can have unrealistic expectations. It can be easy to make yourself miserable if you are working to keep everyone else happy.
Instead, you can work to figure out who you are and what you like to do. This doesn't necessarily mean that you will never do something nice for someone else, but it might mean that you will not allow your happiness to come from someone else. You can find joy in discovering who you are, and making changes that you feel are in line with who you want to be—not who someone else wants you to be.
Tip #2: Focus on the good things in life
Not sure where to start? You can spend time each day purposefully thinking about what is good around you. You could be thankful for things like being in good health, having a job and food to eat. You could be thankful for your family and your friends. Or, your thankfulness can also stem from more basic sources, such as being thankful for the blue sky, white clouds and the flowers that are growing on the side of the road.
Many might find joy simply from believing that there are a lot of things that we have to be thankful for in this life—even when there are some things that aren't going right.
Tip #3: Keep a list
One way to find joy in your life is to keep a list of the things that you are grateful for. Every day, you can add something to the list. Over time, you may begin to see how blessed you are even when things seem mundane or might not be going well.
Tip #4: Make wise decisions
Poor decision-making can come with consequences. It can be hard to be happy when you are suffering from the natural consequences of your own decisions, or from the effects of the decisions of others.
Generally speaking, it can be easier to make a wise decision from the start than it is to recover from a poor choice. Choosing to make the right decisions, no matter how hard they can be at the time, can be a way to foster long-term happiness and joy. If you’re not sure where to start with this, you can carefully think through your actions and what the possible consequences are in the context of a specific situation.
A trusted mentor or a friend can be helpful here as well.
Tip #5: Learn to control your emotions
Allowing yourself to be controlled by your emotions can lead to unhappiness in the long run. However, this can be a difficult lesson to learn. Our emotions may feel particularly overwhelming at times—but change can be possible.
To make a change in this area, it can be helpful to learn how to acknowledge your emotions, while simultaneously controlling your behavior through your thoughts and actions. This process can begin by learning to control your thoughts and what you spend your time thinking about. When you can do this well, you can look past your emotions and make wise decisions.
Mastering this skill can help you to live a more stable and consistent life, which can make you happier in the long run.
Tip #6: Surround yourself with people that make you smile
You may have heard that laughter is the best medicine—and there can be a lot of truth to that statement. If you want to be happy, you might choose to spend time with positive people that make you smile.
While this may not always be possible, you can begin using this tip by limiting the amount of time that you spend with negative people. This can include negative friends and family. Boundaries can be a helpful tool to use as you work to align yourself with people who uphold your values and beliefs.
Once you have limited your time with negative people, you can more effectively look for positive people to spend time with.
Tip #7: Don't be afraid to ask for help (via online therapy)
It can be helpful to intentionally seek joy for a happier, healthier life. However, some may feel that they are consistently in low places, no matter what efforts are made. This feeling can indicate underlying depression or anxiety disorders, which can be addressed by a counselor via in-person or online therapy.
Online therapy can be an effective way to work through depression and many other health conditions. Online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), for example, can offer a way to process negative thoughts and develop strategies for more positive thinking.
BetterHelp can offer a match with an affordable licensed therapist. They can meet with you at a time that works best with your schedule, and you generally don't need to leave home. All you might need is a computer, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection.
Is online therapy effective?
Depression can feel overwhelming. However, online therapy can be an effective way to resolve symptoms for many. Cited research per the National Council on Aging has found that online therapy offers comparable benefits to what would be observed with in-person sessions—and that positive effects generally extended across all age groups.
Why can't money buy you happiness?
Spending money can create a sense of happinessin the moment, and it can also make certain aspects of happiness more reachable. Therefore, a lot of people may assume that money equals happiness.
In reality, money alone may not be the key to a happy life. Although individual definitions can vary, some of the most commonly accepted components of happiness include:
- Meaningful relationships with loved ones
- A sense of community and belonging
- Progress toward personal goals
- Freedom and safety
- Healthy levels of stress
- The ability to improve life for others
Although money may make some of these things easier to reach, many of them are intangible, meaning they aren’t things that money can buy.
What is the quote that money can't buy happiness?
Although it is not credited to one single person, the quote that money can’t buy happiness is often used to point out that just having more money may not be enough to make a person happy. The message of this quote is that, unlike physical objects, many aspects of happiness (like meaningful relationships and personal growth) aren’t things you have to spend money to get.
Does money absolutely buy happiness?
The answer to whether money buys happiness can be complicated. While it is fair to say that having more money does not always mean more happiness, if we think of happiness in terms of things like health, education, or hobbies, then money can play a role in happiness. For example, if you don’t have enough money for food or shelter, your well-being may suffer. Similarly, if a lack of money limits your education or healthcare, you might end up feeling more unhappy than someone with more resources.
Of course, it may be important to remember that this can work both ways. If wealth comes at the cost of other things, like spending time with your kids or being able to pursue your passions, then it may also be detrimental to happiness.
Which is more important, money or happiness?
Although money alone may not buy happiness, having money can still be important for meeting basic needs like food, shelter, safety, and education. Without these things, achieving happiness and surviving difficult times can become much more difficult, which is why money may be important in life to a certain extent. However, once these needs are met, many aspects of happiness tend to become less tied to money.
It can be helpful to think of both money and happiness as important parts of life, with money playing a real but limited role in happiness. That said, opinions on this topic can vary.
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