Money can buy happiness, at least one kind of happiness. A giant new study of 136,000 people in 130 countries found that making big bucks won’t make you feel good on any given day, but it will make you feel more satisfied with your life overall. Why? Because when you ask most people if they’re happy, the first thing they do is compare their life to “the Joneses,” the people in their lives who have the most money and the most stuff. If their lives are similar, they say they feel happy. That’s true whether they’re young or old, male or female or living in the city or the country.
However, when it comes to day-to-day happiness – and how you feel at any given moment - emotions have a much bigger impact than money. In other words, the factors that impact overall life satisfaction include income, whether basic needs like food and shelter are being met, and what conveniences you own – like cars, vacuums or washing machines. On the flip side, the factors that impact day-to-day happiness include: Whether you feel respected, whether your job is fulfilling, and the emotions you experienced the previous day. Like whether you smiled and laughed, or experienced joy, sadness, depression or anger. The study found that happiness also increases if you have family or friends you can count on in an emergency, and if you’re free to learn new things, and do what you want with your free time.
So, if you want to improve your overall life satisfaction, by all means, aim for that giant paycheck. However, if you want to be happier from moment to moment, and day to day – work on the emotional side of things, like friendship, joy, and fulfillment.