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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

According to an Associated Press report, money can buy happiness, to a point.  Researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that people’s level of happiness increases along with their incomes up to $75,000 but then the effect levels off.  An economist Angus Deaton from Princeton University and Daniel Kahneman found that beyond 75K people’s daily mood didn’t improve much, but their overall sense of success did.  Lets face it, all of us are in search of happiness, but most haven’t figured out the magic formula.  So where does your happiness come from?  In my practice I meet with people who have achieved great success as measured by their incomes, but who are still unhappy.  You’ve probably heard about lottery winners whose lives are turned upside down and who live with tremendous turmoil.  Maybe at a certain level of income an inverse relationship between money and happiness occurs.  When money is your only source of happiness it is fleeting at best.  Relying exclusively on material possessions to feel happy can be dangerous.  The consequences of fixating on money to feel good are the development of greed, envy, pride, anger and loneliness.  Many of the patients I work with that struggle with this obsession have lost marriages, friendships, and relationships with family.  What’s the answer?  Happiness is an inside job.  It has to do with choices, behaviors, thoughts, and attitude.  We can’t be happy all of the time, but we can create our own happiness through activities, relationships, and having a sense of purpose in life.  Don’t deny your sadness, fear, hurt, and anger, but do deal with these negative emotions constructively.  In order to experience the fullness of happiness, we need to deal with all of our feelings, good and bad.  Choose people over things; you’ll be happy you did.

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