At a point in my life, I thought happiness was really something you get to achieve, something to be earned. If you’re not successful, you shouldn’t be happy; you should wait until you hit that next promotion, get a raise, etc then suddenly you can feel happy.
Little did I know that I was setting myself up for more unhappiness; as “the pursuit of happiness can be a pointless goal” – Jordan Peterson (12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Choas).
Happiness is a state of mind, not necessarily related to outcome. It’s not directly proportional to how much you earn, ability to spend or achievement in life; even though these things may play a part.
Regardless of your income or salary, you could make just enough to survive and still be happy. Largely because once you exceed your necessity, happiness may not increase with income.
You could also make all the money in the world and still be miserable.
Lastly you don’t have to be in a “happy state” all the time. You could get comfortable with the ups and down in life and train your mind to see something good in everything.
Does money really buy happiness?
Well it depends on your answers to the following questions following questions?
1. What are your expectations in life?
2. How do you define success?
3. How do you spend your time?
Answers to the above questions would help you reflect, observe your life at the moment and reset your priorities if need be.
If you’re caught in the “Happiness trap” or “pursuit of happiness” and need to break free;
1) Cultivate gratitude daily: don’t chase happiness; instead of chasing happiness, which is fleeting – practice being peaceful and content.
2) Stop comparing yourself with others;
The only person you should compare yourself with is who you were yesterday.
3) Devote your life to pursuit of meaningful goals through Work and helping others
“Happiness cannot be pursued; it ensues as the result of living a life of meaning and purpose.” Victor Frankl, in the “Search for meaning” taught that people can discover meaning and purpose in their lives by: 1) doing work that matters 2) loving others unconditionally 3) finding meaning in their suffering.
4) Eat clean, cut out sugar
Studies have found an increased risk of depression and mood disorders with higher consumption of added sugars, soft drinks, juices and pastries.
5) Workout daily
Exercise will not just make you feel good but has been shown to be effective both in reducing mortality an in treating symptoms of major depression.
6) Get moderate sunlight exposure daily or take Vitamin D supplements as it affects your mood and cognition (mental health); and is involved in helping you sleep at night
According to Healthline in an article on the benefits of sunlight, “exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin.
Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep.
… low level of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern, formerly seasonal affective disorder SAD ”
Here’s how money really can buy you happiness
7) Invest more in Experiences, not things
We could easily buy things, but with time they no more excite us, this is because of how easy it is for humans to adapt to their environment – that’s why buying things can only make you happy for a while and ceases to.
Experiences however last longer in our minds than things; and are indeed parts of us compared to things which are separate from us.
Most experiences are shared in nature e.g. cooking for your family, taking a piano course, which brings about a shared connection with others; unlike personal consumption.
What’s more valuable than money? Can Money Buy Love And Happiness?
8) Value deeper connections with family and friends
Family is the basic unit of a life;
Surround yourself with friends, family and nature..
9) Have Faith, Trust in God
“Faith is the substance of things not seen.” If you have this understanding, you realize God sees us in all circumstances, and you gain nothing from being anxious.
Trusting in God is the easiest way to find Peace in Life. He’ll guide you through the ups and downs; if only we can trust in Him.
10) Enjoy the process
Life is more of an adventure to be enjoyed than a challenge to be overcome. The goal is to lead a more meaningful and purposeful life (beyond a happy life).