Money makes the world go round, so they say; money makes you happy, so say others. But are they right? While the world of commerce clearly keeps societies moving (indeed, our current pandemic crisis is a testament to just how important this is, whether we like it or not), is it equally right that it’s impossible to be happy without some level of wealth?
Well, it’s a perennial question, of course, and perhaps one that’s never been answered definitively. Unfortunately, those who are underprivileged can only too easily point to how their lives would definitely be *easier* with more money, but would that make them happier?
Surely, yes, it would make them more content, potentially; maybe improving their health, mental wellbeing, and self-worth – but would it make them happier all the time? Realistically, probably not. Indeed, some individuals, were they to be instantly wealthier, probably wouldn’t be any happier than they were before; for a good number of reasons. So, those who are wealthier than others aren’t *automatically* happier than them; it’s surely fair to say.
Moreover, were you to try to make your life happier without being able to turn to spending money to do so, it’s not an impossible task. Happiness isn’t defined by wealth – it’s more so defined by physical and mental health, spiritual contentment and social belonging. Can wealth help deliver these things? Perhaps, but again, it’s far from always necessary in order to achieve them.
Tips for achieving happiness
So, here’s a list of things anyone can do to try to boost their happiness – and which cost very little or nothing at – that we at Karma Foundation England whole-heartedly recommend:
- Think positively and plan for the future – much happiness is, in actual fact, driven by proactive action; it’s not just trying to be positive and hopeful because, although that can make one feel momentarily happier, planning and trying to put in place positive steps for your future lead to one achieving constructive and affirmative change in your life
- Try volunteering and performing acts of kindness – not all life-affirming satisfaction comes from the status of a well-paying job because much satisfaction can be gained from doing good deeds and genuinely helping others; being part of a volunteering project/ network also means you’re likely engaging with like-minded do-gooding people, combining the proven feelgood factors that are activity and social interaction
- Try making (more) friends – continuing the theme of the last point, increasing your social circle and becoming friends with people whose company you enjoy and with whom you have things in common can be an obvious boost to one’s happiness and self-worth
- Give people compliments – once again, this taps into a previous point; complimenting someone for something, whatever it is, can truly make their day, but it’s also a two-way street because it often makes the ‘complimenter’ feel good for doing something good
- Try to smile and laugh more – life can certainly be difficult and challenging at times (and, obviously, for many, the present time is a good example), so to say it’s easy for everyone to smile and laugh more is naïve, if not a little thoughtless; that said, most people can certainly *try* to laugh and smile more and make their disposition more positive, especially with the effects, over time, being potentially significant (hint: there’s a reason why ‘laughter therapy’ is a recognised phrase)
- Go outside and try to embrace nature – finally, if you can do this, even for just up to half-an-hour a day, it can make a difference to your daily emotions; exercising and experiencing sun, light and nature, whatever the time of year, is proven to raise serotonin and endorphin levels (i.e. the chemicals in the body so important for making us feel positive and happy).