“l’ll be happy when I get the pay rise” or “I’ll be happy when I get a ………” Just insert whatever the word is for you.
Why do so many of us wait to be happy? What is wrong with being happy right now? And, why do we look to money to make us happy?
There is no denying the fact that if you live in a situation where you don’t have enough money to fulfill your basic needs of life like food, clothing and shelter, then the answer is YES, more money will make me happier. It will also make you healthier and less stressed.
So, let’s make the assumption that you are earning sufficient to meet the basic needs and a few of the extras that are nice to have. Which according to the 2010 Princeton research is $75,000, above that you may feel more satisfied with your life, but not necessarily any happier.
What are three things you can do right now to improve your money happiness?
1. Stop having the “I’ll be happy when….” conversations with yourself.
All you are doing is putting off being happy now and waiting for some future date when something happens over which we may have no control.
Take some time to look around you. Who is in your life that makes you happy right now? Friends? Family? What fun things have you done that have brought a smile to your face?
Take pride in your accomplishments to date. Go for a walk in the park/bush, watch the sunrise. Tell your partner or children that you love them. Start looking inside yourself rather than externally for your happiness.
If you are struggling to find people and places that make you happy. Start a gratitude diary.
Write down one thing every day that you are grateful for. You’ll soon find you have plenty of reasons to be happy with your life, just as it is.
2. Go to your Facebook page, or your computer (even a photo album!) and look at your photos.
Does this bring a smile to your face?
The key point here is: Spend your money on experiences, not just ‘stuff’. Dr Thomas Gilovich, a psychologist from Cornell University, has been studying the link between money and happiness for several decades and after four studies still comes to the conclusion: “Happiness is derived from experiences, not things.”
“We buy things to make us happy and we succeed – but only for a little while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
While we think buying a new car or TV will make us happy and it will for a while. Then the car becomes part of our routine and we start to search for new ways of finding happiness.
But experiences, on the other hand, linger in our memory. Something we see or hear will trigger a fond memory of a trip somewhere and that experience become part of our identity. We have animated conversations with friends who have visited the same places we have, we like to compare notes about shows we have been to, or recommend a good movie to others.