Does money make us happy? An answer from positive psychology

Hi, I’m Bia, currently an account manager in AIESEC in Tilburg. I recently organized a training series for students around the topic of happiness, to spread the findings of positive psychology.


 

Does money make us happy?

It’s an age-old question, and we tend to think that the answer is yes. We believe that once we make a little bit more money, we will be a little happier in turn, too. However, according to decades of research in positive psychology, the study of happiness and human potential, the answer is no.

 

Why is that?Does money make us happy according to positive psychology?

Well, it seems from research that humans are prone to something called hedonic adaptation. Hedonic adaptation means that we are very good at getting used to things – both negative and positive. This superpower comes in handy when we have to get used to terrible circumstances. But sadly, it also kicks in when we are watching the sunset the 100th time with our significant other. When we do something the first or the second time, it feels amazing. But this feeling is likely to fade, as we are quick to get used to all great experiences.

Another example is the difference between the ecstatic feeling we get when we are accepted into our dream university or dream job. We don’t get that feeling when we have to get up at 7:30 in the morning to get ready, because we get used to being a student or an employee at that organization and it becomes part of our lives.

 

So how does this work with money?

When it comes to money, hedonic adaptation works extremely well. Once we jump a pay grade and start earning a little more, we initially think our lives are so much better. However, after a few weeks, this feeling wears off. We become used to the newfound luxuries we can now afford. This then results in us wanting an even higher pay – and the cycle never ends, our thirst for Does money make us happy according to positive psychology?money can never be satisfied. Of course this is not true for people living in poverty. But studies continuously show that above a certain level, when we can afford the necessities, more money does not equal more happiness.

 

What can we do?

Remember that whatever you do or buy, you will get used to it. So, spend wisely! It is better to spend your money on lots of smaller things (such as eating out with your friends) rather than one big thing (like the new playstation). The one big thing is likely going to give you a similar happiness boost as one small thing – and that you can buy multiple times! And when it comes to other experiences, try to vary where and with whom you watch the sunset, and make sure that enough time passes between these experiences so that you can appreciate them each time!

 

Read more
The power of cultural intelligence

The power of cultural intelligence

A third type of intelligence, only introduced after the start of the 21st century, is CQ; Cultural Quotient, or cultural intelligence. Every person’s cultural expression (e.g. their way of speech, beliefs, norms, body language, rituals and so on) are influenced by the cultural society they are or used to be part of. Due to this unique, intrinsic collection of culture every person carries with them, we are all different.

Connect Youth: Purpose Driven Networking

Connect Youth: Purpose Driven Networking

Covid-19 triggered us to be more creative in finding ways to finding new ways to create value for our members and to make use of the possibilities that the online world has to offer. Hence, we wanted to create an inspiring online network event for our members. An opportunity for them to connect to the national network and to get to know different types of organisations in a valuable way.

What is Climate Change?

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is defined as a shift in the average conditions of global or regional climate patterns over approximately 30 years. This causes global warming and unexpected weather conditions in every country on every continent.

6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Ugh, Corona, right?  I mean, it has been going through our conversations all year. And this small thing has kept us home for such a long time. OH MY GOD! I felt like my brain had lost its will to work for the longest time. However, this blog will hopefully help you to...

6 Simple Tips to Contribute to a More Sustainable World

6 Simple Tips to Contribute to a More Sustainable World

We only have one planet. If we continue to behave like we have in the last years, this planet as we know it will not exist for our off-spring. If this misuse of the resources continues in the future, chances are that our planet might become like the other seven...

Una experiencia para nunca olvidar

Una experiencia para nunca olvidar

At the start of July 2019, my sister and I took the big leap to pack our bags and visit our family in Colombia. During this time I was still deciding on doing a volunteering job for AIESEC. It was my luck to have my sister as my AIESEC exchange participant manager....

The Importance of Self Awareness for a Leader

The Importance of Self Awareness for a Leader

We often try to identify our existence with our position in society, friends and family, our desires of our body and the emotional and intellectual expressions of our mind. For instance, we might introduce ourselves as ‘I am a business administration student, I have...

3 Tips to Stay Motivated During Lockdown

3 Tips to Stay Motivated During Lockdown

Normally it can be difficult to stay motivated when working or studying. Now, the pandemic forces the most of us to work and study at home, staying motivated can become an even bigger issue. Some important things to keep track of during the pandemic to stay motivated...

Interested?

Take the first step.

Book a free consultation call in one of our cities to explore your opportunities!