I believe it’s true that money cannot buy happiness. Think about all the miserable people you’ve read about or know personally — celebrities, professional athletes, perhaps friends or family — who happen to be rich. If money could buy happiness, wouldn’t they be the happiest people on earth?
While money can’t buy happiness, it can buy and do things for us that can make us happy.
Recently, I read a fascinating book, “The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does,” by Sonja Lyubomirsky. It’s a heavy-duty read, as one might expect from a psychology book. I found it to be thought provoking. The author offers specific ways we can use our money to further our personal enjoyment and happiness.
SPEND MONEY ON SMALL PLEASURES. Small things, like a good cup of coffee, a new DVD or a picnic, can result in small boosts of happiness that accumulate to produce a large impact of longer-lasting happiness.
SPEND MONEY ON FUNDAMENTAL FEELINGS. When you spend your money on satisfying pursuits rather that stuff to impress others, the result is happiness without the addiction-like desire for more and more.
SPEND MONEY ON OTHERS, NOT YOURSELF. When we invest in others rather than ourselves, the result is a lasting sense of happiness.
SPEND MONEY TO OPEN UP MORE FREE TIME.
Spending money for a housecleaner, for example, frees up your time to do things you truly love.
SPEND NOW BUT WAIT TO ENJOY IT. There is something to be said for anticipation and delayed gratification. Together they can create happiness.
SPEND MONEY ON EXPERIENCES RATHER THAN POSSESSIONS. The experiences don’t have to be a Caribbean cruise or European vacation. Family game night can bring the kind of happiness that does not quickly fade the way a new pair of shoes might.
While this book offers an exhaustive study on what makes us happy (the author weaves together extensive scientific research — more than 700 journal articles), it’s an easy read. And I came away from it with two things: 1) A clear-eyed vision of how to build the healthiest, most satisfying life using practical tools and steps, and 2) A renewed affirmation that despite everything, happiness really is a matter of choice.