Can Money Buy Happiness? It's All Relative.
Psychologists and economists have long wondered whether increased wealth does indeed translate into happiness, and now new research indicates that to the (small) extent we are made happier by
our wealth, it is because we feel we achieve a higher social rank than those
around us who make less money.
Chris Boyce, a psychologist at the University of Warwick in the U.K., found in a recent study that while money itself and increased consumption of goods and services contributes very little to individual well-being, people do feel happier when their wealth gives them a higher status than their peers. Boyce told Big Think that this is one reason a society's total wealth does not necessarily translate into its population becoming happier. As a result, he believes it may not make sense for countries to focus so much of their energy on economic growth.
"This [research] is by no means an endorsement that individuals should blindly
strive for more income but in fact an explanation as to why, in spite of
substantial economic growth, developed countries are not getting any
happier," Boyce told Big Think. "What we should be doing is concentrating on areas of
that might bring substantially more happiness, such as our mental health
and spending time with our friends and family. Given the rank income
explanation it is not sensible for countries to pursue income growth."
For other thoughts on the nature of happiness, check out Big Think's interview with psychologist Gretchen Rubin, who talks about how even completing small tasks like making your bed every day can bring a person increased happiness. As well, Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, the author of "Stumbling Into Happiness" told Big Think that happiness is related to "affective forecasting," whereby we try to ascertain how happy we will be before we make a decision.
Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.
- Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
- When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
- Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the planet's lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?
- American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
- Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
- Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.