What is happiness, and why you should care about it?
It is the state of being happy, and being happy is showing pleasure, contentment or satisfaction.
After knowing what happiness is, would you use this to describe how money makes you feel? Does it truly bring about a state of contentment or satisfaction in your life? I’m sure it helps, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that makes you happy.
In my opinion, an increase in happiness related to having more money is internal, because it totally depends on how you value money in your life. Now, not having money can make things challenging as well. For example, not having the funds to meet your basic needs or having too much debt.
I found myself in these situations; barely, able to make ends meet, and being swamped in too much debt. For me, it negatively affected my happiness, and increased some of my negative thoughts.
I don’t think I’m the only person that has worried about money, right?
I realized that I had to change my thoughts about what would truly make me happy, and find a way to be happy with less.
Money Vs. Happiness?
There are many thoughts in the money vs. happiness debate.
Some believe that making a specific amount of money will ensure your happiness, but making too much will lead to social comparisons, and purchasing unnecessary material things.
Additionally, spending habits can also attribute to happiness. For example, buying smaller, more enjoyable things makes you happier, than making one large purchase.
On the other hand, having more money doesn’t guarantee your happiness. Generally, people aspiring to have more, were less satisfied. They were happier spending their money on experiences (think a dope trip, or skydiving), than an item (maybe a flat screen TV, or a designer bag). Why do you think that is?
What Can Affect Your Financial Happiness?
I’m working on giving these things up. Have you ever experienced either of these?
Have you ever noticed that a random search for, let’s say, a pair of shoes leads to ads popping up in your email, on Facebook, or other places? How about the many infomercials, and commercials that advertisers want you to see? These things are all geared towards you spending money, and are not random. I don’t know about you, but I fell for it! And, it was money that I didn’t have! What happens next? I made an unnecessary purchase I couldn’t afford, or I didn’t, and it led to…
- Social Comparisons:
In the land of followers, tweeters, Instagrammers and the like we are over-consumed with what other people are doing and what they want us to see about their lives. I know you know someone perpetrating their awesome life on the ‘gram. You know, that one person that always posts about their extravagant purchases, and trips, and then asks you to borrow money. That’s not their truth, but what they want you to see. I spent too much time on social media, often comparing my life to what I saw. This is not a healthy practice, so, I began to limit my time on social media. I can’t compare my life to yours, if I’m not scrolling through a feed. Plus, if I’m working on creating a better me, I shouldn’t have time to worry about you.
At the same time, I’m working on being happier with less. Have any of these worked for you? I’m hoping to add more as I get better.
- Personal Experience:
Without others to compare things to, we remember things how we want. We attribute a meaning to a sight, sound, smell, or touch. I know that there are certain places that you go, or songs that you hear that have positive associations. Memories can be attributed to something that you spent thousands of dollars on, or nothing at all! It’s up to you. Some of my greatest moments with family and friends are when there was little to no money spent.
Do you remember what it feels like waiting for something really great? The excitement that comes from the smell of baking cookies in the oven, to when you take your first bite. A visit from a loved one out-of-town, or counting down to a really dope trip? That in itself can cause happiness. Anticipation will lead you to think about all of the really great things that will happen, and you will be less likely to think about what isn’t going right, or what you don’t have.
- Giving Back:
No matter how much money you have (or don’t have), giving back to others, will increase your happiness. The greatest thing about giving, is that you don’t have to give money; you can donate your time, ability, or a service. Giving improves our relationships with others, and relationship building is another avenue to happiness.
Many people attribute happiness with having more money, and that isn’t necessarily true. Focusing on what we have by appreciating the present, and being hopeful of the future will cultivate the happiness that we desire. Letting go of consumerism and social comparison will aid in this process. I hope that by creating your own experiences, thinking about the great things that are to come, and volunteering will help to change your thoughts about what it means to be financial happy.
I’ll be talking more about the journey that I have had with my finances, and how my happiness increased, as I learned more, and made better decisions about money.
Do you think the amount of money in your bank account affects your happiness? What do you need to change about your thoughts so that you can be happy with less? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share!