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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Money has made this individual happy
Can money buy happiness? This question is becoming increasingly frequent in Western society where money and wealth dictates our lives.

Self-Image tied to money

In today's capitalist society, people tend to believe that the amount of money that they earn, or how much they have in their bank account, or how much they spend, are key factors in determining their self-worth. As a result of this, 'workaholics' are increasing, with more people working overtime, or over 60 hours per week, as they become addicted to money, in order to achieve materialistic gains. Addictions release 'feel good' hormones into our bodies, such as dopamine, and this changes the way that we feel. The material products, that money can buy, give us a short-term high, or a feeling of superiority, since people love the status that a lot of money can give them. Therefore, with more and more people craving external validation, people believe that money is crucial for approval and happiness.

However, having a higher income only reaches a certain point of happiness, since the positive effects, of having money, often come with negative effects. For example, working longer hours, or having a stressful job. This can lead to physical, and mental, health problems, long term, for the sake of short-term happiness. Furthermore, a job with an impressive salary does not necessarily mean that a person is satisfied within that job role, which still leaves us feeling empty, and uninspired. Self-acceptance is the key to positive self-esteem, his requires a person to be grateful for what they have, instead of dwelling on what they do not have.

Material wealth is not everything

No matter what money buys us, it can only provide us with temporary happiness. In fact, the most valuable things cannot be bought with money. Money cannot buy people good health. Instead, the proper nutrition, regular exercise and a sufficient amount of sleep are important for our well-being. Illness and death are inevitable facts of life, and no amount of money can protect someone from these problems. If a loved one passes away, money cannot bring them back, and material possessions cannot fill the void.

Also, money cannot give life a sense of meaning. A job title, or a high position in a company, does not give someones' life a sense of purpose. Whereas, contributing to a charity, or giving up ones' time to volunteer, or taking part in a hobby, adds value to their life, and it gives them a sense of happiness, knowing that they have made a positive difference, and it costs nothing. Despite money being able to buy luxury, or materialistic, objects, it cannot buy experiences, and it cannot buy memories. It cannot buy a deep connection with family members, friends, or a partner. Meaningful relationships give a level of fulfillment that money cannot provide.

Not only can money not buy good health, or give life a deeper sense of meaning, but money cannot buy people a positive outlook on life. A person who is going through a difficult situation cannot buy themselves optimism. It also cannot make them a good person, who is kind, humble, and respects others. Someone can still be arrogant, rude and nasty, even if they have money. Therefore, people with good qualities, and virtues, are winning, when it comes to forming relationship, creating a safe environment, and being happy.

Can money buy short-term happiness?

Ultimately, money is needed to buy basic necessities in life, such as food, shelter, and clothing, but it does not always bring happiness, especially in the long run. Material purchases can provide people with a temporary joy, but it rarely generates long-term happiness. 'Retail therapy' is consumed by many individuals when they feel stressed out, or unhappy. Shopping is a rewarding experience since it triggers mood-boosting endorphins and people may turn to it as a self-help strategy. The effects of these endorphins wear off in time, meaning that the happiness that comes with buying material items is generally short-lived. Furthermore, retail therapy can lead to overspending and debt. This can worsen stress and result in depression. However, it feels good to have money, and it can help to make life easier, because it can provide financial stability. Although, the real key to long-term happiness, is strong relationships, good health, and positive self-esteem.

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