26 Jul A fascinating article on money and happiness
by Bridget Grenville-Cleave for Positive Psychology News Daily
Readers of my previous articles in Positive Psychology News Daily may remember that one of my fascinations with positive psychology is the existence of its many paradoxes. Some of these have acquired official labels, such as
- Schwartz_ã_s Paradox of Choice
- The Easterlin Paradox
- Wegner_ã_s Paradox
- The Strength of Weak Ties (from the field of sociology rather than psychology, but I think it fits well in discussions of the importance of social relationships).
Other paradoxes are discussed in positive psychology circles, although not all have research evidence to support them, such as
- The inherent weakness in overdoing your character strengths
- Changes which lead to personal growth and higher eudaimonic well-being are not necessarily accompanied by higher positive emotion
- We continue to think that the acquisition of tangible, material possessions will increase our happiness, although research suggests that it_ã_s the intangible, ephemeral nature of our experiences which does.
So as soon as I came across this new research report _ã–Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: the Dual Effect of Wealth on Happiness_ã by Jordi Quoidbach, Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues, my eyes lit up. The researchers were interested in finding out whether there_ã_s any evidence to support the widely-held belief that experiencing the best things in life (their examples are surfing Oahu_ã_s famous North Shore or dining at Manhattan_ã_s 4-star restaurant Daniel, but you can substitute any that you hanker after) undermines your ability to enjoy life_ã_s little pleasures, things like sunny days, cold beers, and chocolate.
Often people explain their desire for more money in terms of providing the opportunity to buy and enjoy more possessions or experiences, in other words, it_ã_s not the money per se that they want but what the money gives them access to. We already know that the ability to savor is central to our well-being _ã_ it_ã_s one of the empirically-tested interventions. Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues go further _ã_ perhaps even thinking about money might lead people to believe that luxury possessions or experiences are obtainable, which might in turn undermine their ability to savor and lead them to take the everyday pleasures for granted.
Interested in reading more from Positive Psychology News Daily about the complext relationship between money and happiness? JUST CLICK HERE