Daniel Gilbert – author of Stumblina on Happiness: „When money buys you out of burdens of homelessness, of not knowing where your next meal will come from, it changes your happiness dramatically. But once you have basic needs met, more money doesn’t seem to buy more happiness.
The difference between the person who earns 5000 USD and 50.000 USD is dramatic. The difference in happiness between the person who earns 50.000 USD and 50 million USD is not dramatic.”
The idea goes back to this notion of the hedonic treadmill, which says that whatever level of wealth or material goods you have, you adapt to it and you’ll always want more.
Tim Kasser: „We make a distinction between two main kinds of goals or values which people might pursue in life: intrinsic goals and extrinsic goals, latter ones are focused on something external to you. They’re focused on rewards, on praise, getting stuff. The three main examples of extrinsic goals we’ve looked at in our research are
- for money, financial success
- for image, looking good, having the right appearance
- for status or popularity
Now, we contrast those with intrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals are inherently satisfying in and of themselves because they have to do with intrinsic psychological needs that all people have. The three intrinsic goals which we have studied are goals:
- for persoanl growth, trying to be who I really am
- for relationships, having close, connected relationships with friends and loved ones
- for community feeling, which is having a sense of wanting to help the world to be a better place.
We know from a decade of research at this point is that people who were more oriented towards money and status and image were reporting less satisfaction with their lives, they were more depressed, more anxious. We found that they felt less vital, less energized in their day-to-day life.
On the other hand, intrinsically oriented people were more happy. They were reporting more vitality, less depression, less anxiety.”
„My life is pretty good as it is, and I have something to give to somebody who maybe doesn’t have something that I have. I think that makes people switch from focusing on „what don’t I have?” to „what do I have that I can share?” and that’s a very powerful thing that we know from the research makes people happier.”
Happiness isn’t just about feeling more blissful and content. Happy people tend to function better. They’re more productive, they’re healthier, and the research suggetsd they even live longer.
Compassion. Richard J.Davidson told us that people who do a specific form of meditation on compassion and loving kindness can increase their happiness levels to a greater extent and for longer periods of time, even than people taking powerful anti-depressant medications.
Sanja Lyubomirsky – Professor of Psychology: „We ask people to count their blessings on a regular basis, like write down things for which you’re grateful and try to contemplate that. We found that the students who counted their blessings once a week became happier.
We asked people to commit acts of kindness on a regular basis, really doing real concrete behaviors. From our experience, the act of kindness so far have been the most effective.
Ed Diener – Prof of Psychology: „Gratitude, compassion, caring, love – these are to me what I would call spiritual emotions, and they make you think of things bigger than yourself. If you only seek your own happiness, it can be kind of a selfish thing. But once you move to the spiritual emotions and worry about the well-being of the world, your life grows. You care about something bigger than yourself. You, in a way, can transcend your own life, your own death, by caring about these things that are bigger than yourself.”