Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 4, 2018

If Money Can’t Buy You Happiness, What Can?

If Money Can’t Buy You 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.

    Advertising

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

          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.

          Advertising

            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.

              Advertising

              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.

              Advertising

                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.

                Featured photo credit: Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash via unsplash.com

                Reference

                More by this author

                Leon Ho

                Founder & CEO of Lifehack

                Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life? How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone? Feeling So Stuck in Life That You’re About to Give Up? Help is Here! 10 Things High Achievers Do Differently to Attain Greatness

                Trending in Mental Strength

                1 7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential 2 Meditation Can Change Your Life: The Power of Mindfulness 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track 4 13 Ways Living with Purpose Make Your Life Happier and More Fulfilling 5 The 5 Most Important Things in Life You’ll Probably Regret Not Pursuing

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising

                Last Updated on November 5, 2018

                7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential

                7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential

                Life coaching is not just a fad. It is a useful and practical service industry that is here to stay.

                Life coaching is a life changing partnership that helps people reach their potential. It is not counseling. Here is an easy explanation to differentiate between counseling and life coaching:

                Counseling helps you deal with major life problems, such as depression, divorce, and death of a loved one. Whereas, life coaching helps you realize your goals and dreams, such as getting a job promotion, writing a book, or achieving a weight loss goal.

                Every life coaching practice is different, but the premise of life coaching is for an individual to partner with a coach so they can receive counsel and encouragement to achieve their personal and/or career goals.

                Before I married my husband and had children, I had a life coaching practice for several years. I also personally use a life coach. We have an hourly call once a month.

                Life coaching works. I am stating this not only because I have seen it in my own clients’ successes, but it has worked for me personally.

                While these are some signs that you need a life coach, here are more reasons why you need to find a life coach today:

                1. Find Your Life Purpose

                We all have the innate desire to be special and important. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to be on a stage or receive a standing ovation. It means that we each have an intrinsic desire to have a life that is of meaning. To be of value to this world in some way is the cry of our soul.

                We each have a purpose in this world, but for most of us, it is not exactly clear what that purpose may be. A life coach can help you discover this in yourself.

                For many, we have life experiences that shape and mold who we have become. We can use these experiences, both good and bad, to find our meaning in the world.

                A life coach can help you unlock this potential for meaningful purpose. They can help you process your past and find the meaning and purpose for your life. It can be something positive.

                For example, you may have twice performed CPR on strangers who had medical emergencies. You saved their lives and this left a lasting impact on you as a person that you felt within your soul and being. After you talked with your life coach for several sessions, you may decide that your job at a hardware store is not your purpose. You have come to realize that you react well in emergency situations and you find great meaning in helping others.

                Your experience of saving those two individuals by your quick thinking and actions left an impression on you. You now realize that you want to become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).

                You have found that your purpose is to save lives in real emergency situations. The next step with your life coach is working on discovering and creating a plan of action that will get you to the goal of being an EMT.

                You may love your career, but you don’t feel that is your end purpose. Perhaps you have a yearning for something more meaningful. Your life coach can help you discover that purpose even if it means staying in your current career.

                Advertising

                Also, it should be noted that it doesn’t necessarily need to be a positive experience that drives your purpose. For example, perhaps you are a widow because your spouse committed suicide. It happened a number of years ago and you have healed and found that telling your story to others now has helped a number of individuals and families.

                You discover in your conversations with your life coach that you would like to channel your story and experience into helping others. This is your purpose. Your life coach can help you discuss what kind of options are out there and what you may be thinking.

                In the end, after weeks of discussion and researching possible options, you have decided that you will become involved in your local suicide prevention organization. You find that there is a very active local chapter with opportunities for speaking.

                Your life coach helps you set goals including meeting with the chapter president so you can help with the organization’s goal of suicide prevent. The end result is that you meet with the president and you asked to speak at their next public event about suicide prevention.

                You are able to share your story along with the warning signs and how families can help their loved one who may be suicidal. Your purpose has clearly come into focus and fruition because of your life coaching partnership.

                2. Unlock the Answers Within Yourself

                Are you your perfect self? Have you achieved everything you want to be in life? Have you run out of things to improve in your life?

                If you answered no to any of the above questions, then you can benefit from hiring a life coach.

                Even if you don’t know what you want to improve just yet, or you don’t know what purpose you have in this world, a life coach can help you discover these things in yourself.

                A life coach does not have the answers for you. However, they can help you unlock the answers in yourself.

                Sometimes, you don’t even know it is in you, until the right questioning and person comes along. That right person is likely a life coach if you can’t put your finger on your future and what you want.

                Life coaches are trained to question. They are not advice givers. Instead, they know the right questions and how to ask them in a way that gets you thinking introspectively.

                They are positive, encouraging, and open to your ideas, thoughts, and their desire is to unlock the answers within you for yourself. They don’t want to provide you with your answers. They can guide you, but truly the answers lie within yourself.

                A life coach will partner with you to help you find the answers in you about yourself, even if you don’t know or believe that you have the answers. You do. You just have to trust the process and trust yourself.

                3. Develop Steps to Improve Yourself

                Once you know what it is that you want to achieve and you have unlocked your passion, desires, and hopes, it’s then that the work begins.

                Your life coach can help you achieve your goals, whether they are self improvement or career related. They partner with you to help you develop a plan of action. Your life coach will work with you to develop a step-by-step plan in achieving your goals.

                Advertising

                For example, imagine that you have decided that your goal is to write a children’s book about overcoming cancer. You made this decision because you overcame cancer as a child and you want to help other children with cancer have hope in their bleak situation. You also have the desire to create an awareness among children about cancer and its affects.

                Your life coach will likely ask you questions about how long you think it will take you to write the book, how you plan to obtain illustrations, and thoughts about publishing options. Those discussions will help you brainstorm the process of everything it takes (that you know) to write and publish a children’s book.

                From there, you set goals to achieve before your next call. For example, you decide that you will try to write a first draft of the book before your next call that is happening in two weeks. You also determine another task or goal in the next two weeks is reaching out to your friend who is an artist, and may be interested in drawing for the book. A third task on your list is to research online how children’s books are published.

                Your discussion along with the tasks and goals to achieve in the next two weeks have you moving forward toward your goal of publishing this children’s book. You have practical and realistic steps that will move you in the direction of your goal.

                Whatever your goal or life purpose may be, your life coach can help you zone in on what needs to be done in the here, and now to work toward making that dream a reality.

                4. Set and Achieve Goals With Someone Who is Holding You Accountable

                This is one of the primary reasons I have a life coach. I am great at setting my own goals, both personally and professionally. However, life gets in the way and the lack of achieving those goals slips from days, into weeks, and then into months.

                With my monthly life coaching sessions, I have overall goals. My life coach helps me break those big goals down into smaller achievable goals.

                During our coaching sessions, she will ask me how much time I believe it will take to achieve the tasks involved in achieving my goals at hand. Then, I write down on my calendar the date I plan to achieve those tasks by. This helps me keep moving forward on my goals by breaking things down into achievable tasks.

                I know that she is also keeping track of those dates, as she is jotting them down during the call. She will be asking me during our next call about all of the line-items and dates we had set during the previous call.

                We go through each of these during the next session. It works! I don’t want to let her down. I also don’t want to let myself down. Just knowing that I have someone holding me accountable in completing the tasks and jobs that are getting me toward my dreams and goals helps me complete everything on time.

                You may be thinking, “why can’t I just have a friend hold me accountable.” Sure, that may work, but it likely will not be as effective. How committed are they going to be in checking in on you and your completion of tasks every month that are helping you reach your goals?

                Also, when you have money invested in the process, you have a vested stake in the matter. When you put money into something, it creates care and dedication because you don’t want that money to be wasted.

                5. Start Doing Instead of Dreaming

                Do you have a dream that has been put on the shelf? Perhaps it is a book you have in your mind that you have wanted to write for years, or maybe it’s a dream to travel abroad but you have been too busy with life to schedule in the trips you have dreamed about for years?

                Now is the time to make that change happen. You can take your dreams off the shelf where they have been waiting and begging to be removed. You can begin to make those dreams a reality when you partner with a life coach.

                A life coach can help you discover what it is that is keeping your dreams shelved, so that you can overcome the obstacles standing in the way.

                Advertising

                For example, imagine you have wanted to adopt a dog for years, but your job has kept you too busy. You engage with your life coach to discuss this dream. Your life coach may help you discover that you do have options even with a busy job.

                Through your discussion, you realize that your work load will be changing in the coming years and that there are plenty of dogs in shelters that need a home now. You are willing to pay for daily doggy daycare until you have more time at home during the week. Until that day, you can enjoy evenings and weekends with a dog who needs you and you need them.

                You had shelved your dream because you felt you didn’t have enough time for the dog. However, once you realized that you have the money to provide the daytime care needed, and you could save a dog who may otherwise be euthanized, your perspective changed.

                You became empowered to make your dream happen. You adopt a dog from a local shelter and the rest is history. You wouldn’t have thought about the options and your perspective being changed had it not been for the right questions being asked by your life coach.

                Your coach helped you discover a real and feasible plan to make your dream a reality. The result is that you not only have your dream of owning a dog realized, but you also saved that dog’s life.

                6. We All Need a Personal Cheerleader

                Wouldn’t it be great to have someone cheering us on in life? Someone that rejoices in our successes, even when they are small?

                If you hire a life coach, you can have your own personal life cheerleader. Your life coach wants you to succeed because it is a reflection of their work with you. They are cheering you on because you have partnered together.

                One of the first people I texted after I got a book agent was my life coach. She knew I had the appointment scheduled. She responded instantly to my text with an overjoyed message of congratulations.

                I knew she, of all people, would understand the work that had gone into my goal of landing a book agent. She had helped me each step of the way in setting small goals and tasks to get the agent. She was cheering me on in my proposal writing stage, my editing phase, and my pursuit of meeting with the agent. She was excited and cheering me on with words of encouragement and praise of the work that I had done to get me to that point.

                Once the appointment happened and the contract was offered, I was thrilled to tell my life coach because I knew she would be excited too. It was a success for her as well. She had been helping me set my goals and was cheering me on all these months.

                It is so nice to know that I have someone walking beside me in the process of pursing my goals. Friends are enthusiastic and sweet of course, but none are partnered with you like a life coach.

                A life coach wants you to be successful, because your success is their success. They will be your cheerleader and don’t we all need one in this tough world!

                7. Gain Better Self Understanding and Confidence

                When you know who you are, you can become confident in who you are.

                A life coach can help you better understand yourself. They ask questions that help you identify what matters to you most.

                A life coach does not tell you what to do or how to do it. Instead, a good life coach will delve into questions that help you discover for yourself what you may not consciously know.

                Advertising

                For example, imagine you are struggling as a mom. You can’t put your finger on what it is that is causing your failure as a mother. You just know that you feel that every day is a struggle and you don’t feel like you are doing things right.

                You begin to discuss with your life coach your childhood. You realize in her probing questions that your feelings of failure and inadequacy come from your own childhood. Your mom is a perfectionist and was an incredible super-mom. You don’t feel that you could ever measure up.

                In discussing what you do as a mother on a daily basis, you also realize that you are a hard working mom doing your best and trying your hardest. Your realizations help you come to the conclusion that it is your confidence in your abilities that are lacking, and not your actual mothering abilities. You decide that you will work on these issues with your life coach.

                Once you can discover why your confidence is being undermined, you can begin to dismantle the false thoughts that were keeping from being a confident mom. Your shift in mom thinking has changed because your life coach asked the right questions to help uncover the truth about where your lack of confidence was stemming.

                Once that was uncovered, it could be taken head on to dispel with thoughts from your past that still had a hold on you. Your life coach can then help you discover what you are doing right as a mom and build on those qualities, so you can gain even more confidence as a mother.

                Sometimes, we think we know ourselves and simply think that there is something wrong with us when we feel inadequate. Instead of chalking things up to inadequacy and failure, we need to delve deeper.

                Often, we can find thoughts and beliefs founded in falsehood that are keeping us from being our best self. Things that we think to be true may not be truth at all. Don’t accept the lie that you are not good enough. Find out what is causing your feelings for not being or doing enough.

                Partnering with a life coach will help you discover in yourself the root of these thoughts so that they can be overcome. Your life coach will help you become more confident in who you are and what you do.

                How to Find a Life Coach

                Word of mouth is usually the best way to find a life coach. It you know of a friend who uses a life coach, then ask them about their experience. If they highly recommend their life coach, ask for their contact information.

                If you use social media, it can also be a great resource. Ask your friends and family via social media if they know of a reputable life coach. Be sure to put below your request “no negative comments please.” There are some people who have negative opinions about therapy, life coaching, and counseling. Their opinions are not needed to hinder you in your pursuit of making yourself better.

                If you are more private and not wanting to ask others, then there are websites that allow you to search for life coaches.

                Keep in mind that many life coaching sessions are done by phone or even Skype. You do not need to live near a life coach to hire one. Instead, think about looking for a coach that either specializes in a specific topic in which you are searching for help, or look for one that you think would be a good match for you personally.

                Don’t be concerned about location, since most coaches work by phone anyway.

                Think you’re too late to find a life coach? Surely not! Here’s the proof:

                How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                Featured photo credit: Taylor Ann Wright via unsplash.com

                Read Next