The truth about money and happiness
Are you looking for more happiness? Do you often try to buy it through stuff? Then you know that that kind of happiness doesn’t last long. After a while, that empty feeling resurfaces again. If you want to know the truth about money and happiness, this blog post is for you.
The late Norwegian poet Arne Garborg said it this way:
you can buy food, but not appetite;
medicine, but not health;
soft beds, but not sleep;
knowledge, but not wisdom;
glitter, but not beauty;
splendor, but not warmth;
fun, but not joy;
acquaintances, but not friends;
servants, but not faithfulness.
grey hair, but not honor;
quiet days, but not peace.
The shell of all things you can get for money.
But not the kernel.
That cannot be had for money.”
For him, it was clear that not everything can be bought with money. He knew the truth about money and happiness.
What will I talk about in this post?
- The more stuff the more worries
- More income adds little to happiness
- Striving for money is linked to unhappiness
- Materialism and self-destruction
- It’s not the money, but the love for money
- How important is money to YOU?
- How to change your mindset about money and be happier
- What’s the lesson?
The more stuff the more worries
If you think that more money and possessions necessarily lead to a happier life, you will be disappointed. Stuff and money can be taken away or lost. They also need to be looked after and protected. It’s as a proverb says:
“Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, whether he eats little or much, but the plenty belonging to the rich one does not permit him to sleep.” – (Ecclesiastes 5:12)
In other words, if you possess a lot, you might become afraid of losing it all. And because of that it can hunt you down and keep you awake at night worrying. One way to avoid that concern and the threat of theft is to limit your belongings.
You could look at it this way: the desire that makes you buy expensive stuff can be the same desire that moves others to steal. For them, it could be an invitation…
So gather wealth through lifestyle and spiritual things rather than through material stuff. This is an important key to freedom of unnecessary worries or burdens, and an excellent mindset for happiness!
More income adds little to happiness
According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, once your basic needs are met, more income adds little to your happiness or well-being. It does not correlate. It adds: “This means that poor people benefit more than rich people from an added… income. This also means that causes other than income influence the level of happiness.”
This means that money cannot buy you happiness beyond the border of material well-being. But the companies try to slyly convince you and me through their advertising campaigns that the opposite is true. So stay in charge of your own wishes and conditions for happiness! Show others proudly you know the truth about money and happiness.
Striving for money is linked to unhappiness
We have a lot more stuff and opportunities than our grandparents had. According to the magazine Monitor on Psychology, “compared with Americans in 1957, today we own twice as many cars per person, eat out twice as often and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then”. We now have things liked big-screen TVs, microwave ovens, smartphones, and so on…
But does that make you happier? These days young people grow up with material abundance, but they are less happy and have a much greater risk of depression.
Still, not everyone has the same idea about money and stuff. How come that you can develop such a strong desire for buying things while others don’t? One of the reasons is you might want to fill an emotional void. Or maybe, without consciously being aware of, you try to suppress your feelings of deep distress. And when you grew up in an unhappy atmosphere, you might have learned as a child to be more attached to material stuff than to people. It can be like a kind of comfort.
Materialism and self-destruction
According to the book The Narcissism Epidemic, “materialism is eventually self-destructive; people who value being wealthy as an end in itself (rather than as an outcome of achieving other life goals) are less happy and more prone to depression.”
It continues and repeats: “On average, materialistic people are less happy and more depressed. Even people who simply aspire to have more money suffer from poor mental health; they also report more physical health problems such as sore throats, backaches, and headaches and were more likely to drink too much alcohol and use illegal drugs. Striving for financial success, apparently, makes people miserable.”
These are all strong statements, aren’t they? Yes, when you allow money to become an obsession, it will have the power to also destroy friendships and family ties.
So, as an overview, what is the truth about money and happiness? As we saw, striving for money can lead to:
Stress and worries
Poor mental health
Physical health problems
Destroyed family ties
It’s not the money, but the love for money
But money on its own is not the problem. It’s rather the striving for money that can make you unhappy. Yes, not money, but “the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things“. (1 Tim. 6:10a)
When you have a balanced view of money, you will be happier. That means that you see money as a means, not as the goal in itself. You won’t be disappointed as you don’t expect stuff to make you happier.
The love for money creates desire. It will drive you to look for satisfaction. But the desire for money can never be satisfied. Do you see the vicious circle? Disappointment will keep being a result.
The love for money will also force you to sacrifice exactly the things that contribute to your happiness. Things like friends, family, time for spirituality, and enjoying nature or creation.
How important is money to YOU?
If you investigate yourself, you will discover how much value you attach to money. What would you answer to the following questions?D
– Do I feel attracted to get-rich-quick-schemes?
– Are my friends and I talking a lot about money and stuff?
– Am I always busy with money?
– Do I feel more important when I possess more money?
– Does money have a bad influence on my health?
– Is my family life suffering from my attitude towards money?
– Is it difficult for me to be generous?
– Am I ready to lie or be dishonest in order to get more money?
When you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, try to change your mindset about money and material things. Knowing the truth about money and happiness can help you. How?
How to change your mindset about money and be happier
AVOID FRIENDSHIPS WITH PEOPLE WHO ATTACH A LOT OF VALUE TO MONEY AND POSSESSIONS. Friends do influence you in a bad AND in a good way. This means that if you surround yourself with friends who attach great importance to high moral values in life and who are spiritual, you will become more like them.
NEVER LET MONEY BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY. It should be less important to you. Loving relationships must always be of more value than material stuff. Money is not sensitive and can’t be hurt, but people are and can. And not possessions but love is indispensable for happiness.
LET MONEY BE SUBORDINATE TO YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. In the end, striving for money will cost you money for health care. Yes, ‘by reaching out for this love some have stabbed themselves all over with many pains‘. (1 Tim. 6:10b)
BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. When you have shelter, food, and clothing, you have the most important material basis. When you are satisfied, you will not complain, grumble, or be jealous easily. If you don’t long for things you can’t afford, you’ll save yourself unnecessary worries and stress. Money is important for your fundamental needs, but the extras won’t add much to your happiness.
BE GENEROUS. Instead of keeping all your money to yourself, spend some of it to make others happy. The result? You’ll feel happier yourself! And often you’ll get a lot more back. Mostly it will be things you can’t buy with money like love, respect, thankfulness, and friends who will also like to give to you.
“The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have… stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
What’s the lesson?
We spoke about the dangers and the truth about money and happiness. Happiness and success cannot be measured by possessions or riches. We also saw what mindset and steps can help you become happier in this area of life.
In fact, most of us know these things. They’re not new. The hard part is to apply them. But when you do, you will show that your values in life are at a higher level. The door to happiness will open itself more and you will feel more solid ground on your path of happiness.
I hope these insights and practical steps will help you. May your path of happiness unfold more and more now that you learned more around the truth about money and happiness.
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To your happiness!