Increasing your well-being

Increasing your well-being

A growing body of research shows we can reliably raise our well-being.

Reframing the way we think about money and making financial decisions can lead to long-term gains in life satisfaction. Just having money doesn’t necessarily mean greater happiness, but using it well can.

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  • The level of positive emotions. This includes pride, joy, contentment, and curiosity we experience on a day-to-day basis. How happy you are on an immediate basis fluctuates by the day or even the hour.
  • The overarching sense of contentment. How happy you are overall, generally remains the same. When you rate your happiness on a 10-point scale, if you are a seven kind of person, you will often stay around seven.

Buying time by outsourcing unpleasant or disliked tasks can benefit our well-being. 

Unfortunately, we're not great at valuing time over money. To change our spending habits, it helps to value time more than money. It could mean that we seek a job for its flexibility rather than the salary and prestige.

Psychologically, the effect of buying stuff is less valuable. Experiences are often better investments, as they encourage meaningful memories and connections that have a lasting impact.

A series of experiments found people are happier after spending money on others versus on themselves. It is not that spending money on yourself doesn't feel good - it just doesn't seem to last for long.

By giving money away, you not only make other people happy, but you also make yourself happier.

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Money And Happiness

The debate about how material belongings can get in the way of our happiness dates back hundreds of years:

  • The Buddha talked about a balance between asceticism and pleasure.
  • Early Christian monasticism preached spiritual transformation through simple living.
  • Philosopher Lao Tzu warned that if you chase after money, “your heart will never unclench.”

Today, the question of whether money can bring us happiness remains a subject of intense debate.

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Experiences vs. Objects

Objects fade and become part of the new normal. So you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling. 

Experiences really are part of ourselves. We are the sum total of our experiences.

Personal transformation

The term “positive psychology" was coined by Abraham Maslow in 1954. Martin Seligman used this term to promote personal change through the redemptive power of devotional practices like counting your blessings, gratitude, forgiveness, and meditation.

It is expressly designed to build moral character by cultivating the six virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, humanity, temperance, and transcendence.

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