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If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

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If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

Think of the last time your bought something you really wanted. How did you feel afterwards? It felt good.

    Now, is there something else you really want? Maybe a new laptop, smartphone, or some nice clothes. Buying that thing, whatever it is, will bring you happiness. When you finally have it, you will be excited to try it out.

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          As cliche as it says “money can’t buy happiness,” we feel happy when we buy the things we want. Why is that?

          The Real Reason Why You Are Happy When You Buy Stuff

          Human beings are hardwired to seek instant gratification. You’ve probably heard the phrase instant gratification hundreds of times. To get that thing we want, the moment we want it. This desire for instant gratification came to us as a survival mechanism. I’m not going to talk about instant gratification in details here, if you want to find out more about it, take a look at 5 Ways to Get Over Approval Addiction and Instant Gratification.

          While instant gratification is in human’s nature, we live in a society driven by delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the desire for something but the inability to get it when you want. In our society, you have to wait for your pay day, your meal at a restaurant, your coffee at Starbucks. When the thing you want finally arrives, you get excited.

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            Your excitement for this thing, the delayed gratification often elicits stronger emotional responses in you than when you get it. This feeling comes from dopamine a chemical that influences the pleasure centers in our brains.[1] When you become excited for something, you are actually enjoying a release of dopamine into our system. The thing you are actually excited for is almost secondary to it.

            Think about it, how did you feel a couple hours after buying something you waited a long time for? It was probably not nearly as good as when you first got it, or when you’re waiting to get it. It’s natural, it’s a part of human nature.

              In this way the happiness you feel isn’t true happiness. In fact, biologically speaking, you’re just enjoying a blast of dopamine. When this blast of dopamine is gone, you want something new again, which is secretly, more dopamine. This is what that old saying “money can’t buy you happiness” really means.

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              There is, however, a way in which money can buy you happiness. It’s just not in a way you think.

              An Alternative to Buying Happiness

              Recently Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA conducted a study where two groups of people were given $40 each.[2] One group was told to spend it in buying a possession, an object, something they wanted. The other group was told to spend it in ways that would enable them to have more free time, for example, having food delivered to save them from cooking, or hiring a cleaner, instead of cleaning their house themselves. When each participant in the study were to measure their happiness to a 10 point scale, those who spent their money on more free time were almost always one whole point ahead of those who spent their money on stuff.

              In a sense, they were happier because they brought themselves out of doing something they didn’t want to do. Just buying more stuff, in the long run didn’t have much of an affect on their happiness, when those who spent money on time found an increase in life satisfaction.

              It was the free time that made people happy.

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                It was the quality time that contributed more to their happiness, the money was just a tool they used to get more time. But the money ultimately is unnecessary. All that is required is a re-adjustment of how you measure time.

                Everyone has 24 hours a day. The life expectancy for females is 81.2 years; for males, it’s 76.4 years. Most people have more or less the same time of living. To make every hour, or minute count is the way to create your own happy time. If you are always feeling busy and don’t think you have enough quality time for yourself, you need to make a change to turn things around.

                To be truly happy, make quality time a true value in your life. Find out how to do so in my other article How to Gain More Time Like Making Money.

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                More About Happiness

                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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                Leon Ho

                Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                Last Updated on January 5, 2022

                How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

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                How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

                We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

                Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

                Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

                Expressing Anger

                Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

                Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

                Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

                Being Passive-Aggressive

                This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

                Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

                This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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                Poorly-Timed

                Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

                An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

                Ongoing Anger

                Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

                Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

                Healthy Ways to Express Anger

                What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

                Being Honest

                Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

                Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

                Being Direct

                Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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                Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

                Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

                Being Timely

                When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

                Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

                Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

                How to Deal With Anger

                If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

                1. Slow Down

                From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

                In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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                When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

                2. Focus on the “I”

                Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

                When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

                3. Work out

                When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

                Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

                Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

                4. Seek Help When Needed

                There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

                5. Practice Relaxation

                We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

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                That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

                Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

                6. Laugh

                Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

                7. Be Grateful

                It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

                Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

                Final Thoughts

                Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

                During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

                Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

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                More Resources on Anger Management

                Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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