How to buy happiness

Can money really buy happiness? It’s not so easy to create an argument between the correlation of money and happiness with such a gray area surrounding the concept.

There may be reasonable factors to consider when breaking down this particular loaded question.

Many would agree that as a culture we spend a lot of money trying to buy things that will bring us further enjoyment, but even people with a substantial amount of money could still be found to be clearly unhappy. So maybe it’s not about how much money we have, it’s just about how we use it and what we do with it. 

This very question, “can money really buy you happiness,” was addressed in an issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology, clearing up a majority of misconceptions between spending money and happiness.  

Studies show that people who do spend money on experiences related to their social life saw an individual improvement in their satisfaction of their own social life. People who also spend money on experiences related to fitness saw an improvement in their satisfaction with their health.  

Adding these improvements to the addition of many others we have in life, found that the link between subtle increases of satisfaction can create an overall large effect on an individual’s well-being and happiness.

 “About 50 percent of the difference between people in overall happiness is due to genetic factors that affect things like your personality. Another 10 percent of the differences in happiness between people have to do with overall income and marital status,” reports the Journal of Consumer Psychology. “But, the remaining 40 percent is there to be influenced by aspects of your behavior.”

One would think that income alone would have a higher percentage rate of affectivity, let alone ones marital status. I guess that just proves that some people don’t always have money on their mind. 

The fact that about 40 percent of our overall happiness is influenced by our own behaviors, compared to the 50 percent generated by genetic factors, proves that we play a fairly large role in creating our own happiness. 

A majority of the purchases we make regularly are meant to fulfill our basic needs, such as food for eating, housing for living, and clothes for necessity. And then there are purchases that are miscellaneous and extra.

The ability to be able to spend money on the many miscellaneous purchases can reinforce positive experiences, but at the same time can be proven to increase the dopamine levels in your brain, creating an increase on one’s individual happiness overtime. 

I personally would rather make a series of smaller purchases on miscellaneous items rather than one big purchase, because not only would I then get more for my money, but knowing that I have the potential to increase my own happiness is extraordinary. 

A majority of our happiness is not influenced by our cash flow, making our happiness for the time being out of our hands. Being able to bring the power back into our control can be as simple as making a minor purchase with that single dollar bill in your pocket.

 These purchases combined with positive daily actions can give us a greater sense of well-being and happiness. I guess money can really by you happiness, at least in a sense. 

Now, if only money grew on trees.