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They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Something More Important Though

They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Something More Important Though

Money is construed differently by different people to mean different things. Some see it as a piece of paper. To some, it is synonymous to wealth. But, regardless of the perspective, we have all come to agree that money is a resource that we can use to buy goods and services.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

They say money can’t buy happiness, and to a certain degree that’s true, but poverty doesn’t bring happiness either, does it? Does money bring happiness? Typically, people who say money doesn’t buy happiness are usually the ones who never had money. Hence, why they use the “money can’t buy happiness” motto to rationalize their inability to get out of their financial struggle.

This contradictory line is fast becoming a cliché that plagues our society today. While people seek solace in this line, some even infer that money is the root of all evil. This begs the question: what is poverty? The root of all goodness?

Tell that to a homeless beggar who struggles to have a meal a day or a promising chap who has just dropped out of school all because his parents couldn’t afford to further his education due to a lack of funds, thus, having his hope of a bright future dashed. After all, how many marriages and families have been destroyed due lack of money? How many lives have been lost as a result of abject penury? The answers are countless.

And talking about happiness, it is a myth that we’ve believed in. We are so attached to the idea that happiness is achieved when everything in our life seems perfect, so we actively pursue it every day.

The shocking truth is, the term “happiness” is relative, which makes it hard to define and achieve. What might be a source of happiness for Tom might not be the same for Jim.

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In other words, the nature of human needs presents the argument that money can buy happiness as quite a paradoxical one.

If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, It Can Buy Everything Else.

money can't buy happiness

    Food, shelter, health care, clothing, education, and to a certain degree, even relationships. If money can get you all of these things at your disposal, what more could you wish for?

    In their interesting research paper titled, “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending Right”, Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson pointed out eight rules to help “buyers” achieve more happiness for their money. Find the summary of the rules below:

    Buy more experiences and fewer material goods

    Happiness derived from experiences is long-lived and tends to last a lifetime with us, unlike material things that we get used to or bored of quickly and want to replace.

    Use your money to benefit others rather than yourself

    As humans, our associations with our fellow beings is a contributing factor of our happiness. There is always this happy feeling and contentment that one gets after spending money on others. To help others, you can give back to charity, sponsor scholarship programs, or donate to NGOs.

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    Booker T. Washington said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

    Buy small pleasures rather than fewer large ones

    The degree that happiness is derived is not necessarily a function of the amount spent on big things. A suit might cost 10 times more than a shirt and a pair of pants, but that doesn’t mean the pleasure or utility derived from such a splurge will be 10 times more.

    So why spend so much on a big vacation once a year, when you can spend less on picnics every quarter of the year and get more experiences in the process?

    Eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance

    Buying extended warranties and expensive insurance is a result of the fear of the unknown.

    In fact, people who buy too much insurance tend to be unhappier than those who don’t. Buy less, worry less!

    Delay consumption

    Anticipation of the consumption of a good or service alone can be a source of pleasure. As a matter of fact, this pleasure often overshadows the pleasure derived from the actual consumption.

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    Consider how peripheral features of your purchases may affect your day-to-day

    At times, it is better for consumers to be more realistic in their anticipation for a purchase. Looking beyond the fanciful features often helps prevent any unnecessary unhappiness that may arise in future.

    Beware of comparison shopping

    Comparison shopping can bring about a misconception in the actual intent of shopping. This is because consumers may get distracted from the qualities of the product that will bring them pleasure and settle for the wrong product. Technically, they end up buying unhappiness with their money.

    Pay close attention to the happiness of others

    Sometimes, the true definition of our happiness may lie in the hands of other people. As stated by the authors, “Research suggests that the best way to predict how much we will enjoy an experience is to see how much someone else enjoyed it.”

    Money can at least buy us freedom, which is just as important as happiness.

    money can't buy happiness

      One of the most significant roles that money can play in one’s life is that it makes you less indebted to those who possess it – it brings about independence.

      This must be what William Faulkner saw when he decided to resign from the Oxford, Mississippi. With enough cash in hand, you can do what you want, get what you want, and go where you want. Yes, it sounds good, but there is a downside as well.

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      As much as money can bring liberation, people can still easily be enslaved to it. When people are slaves to their money, they tend to panic about losing their money. They start to worry about futuristic uncertainties (thus, creating problems where there are none). In fact, their relationships with their family and friends begin to go weary.

      This has led us to another pertinent question: Who is better between a well-fed slave and a hungry free man?

      Albert Camus gave his answer when he said, “It’s better to be a free pauper than a rich slave.” He went further to say, “People want to be rich and free and because of, that they become poor slaves.”

      The point is, freedom is not just free. It unavoidably has a price attached to it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll need a million dollars to acquire it. Having money doesn’t necessarily make you happy, but it increases the odds dramatically if you know how to use your money.

      With money comes freedom, and with freedom comes happiness.

      Before using the all too common line that money can’t buy happiness, you might want to give it a second thought.

      Featured photo credit: Getty Images via time.com

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      Damian "Pros" Prosalendis

      Entrepreneur, Business Owner

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      Last Updated on August 20, 2019

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

      The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

      3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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      This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

      You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • They rile up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

      Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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      For example:

      If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tension

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

      Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      For the Sleep Depriver

      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
      • Shut down your thinking.
      • Calm your feelings.
      • Simply focus on the present moment. 

      The Bottom Line

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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