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The Most Valuable Things Are Free

Our lives, our identities, and perhaps even our well-being are heavily influenced by money. It could appear at times that your level of satisfaction depends on how much money you have in your bank account. Have you ever said to yourself, "If only my salary could go up by 10%, I'd feel happier"?  I don't blame you. I've often had similar thoughts many times. However, evidence shows that money is definitely not a solver to everything.

Woman Holding Money and Crying

Money cannot buy happiness, it can rent it


When we examine the amenities that money may purchase, such as pricey dinners and luxury holidays, we may question if money can buy happiness. Cash is essential in another crucial manner, however studies show that money isn't the answer to all problems. Understanding what makes you happy in the first place is essential if you want to know how to use the money you have to improve your happiness.


According to large-scale surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, those who have five or more close friends are 50% more likely to rate themselves as "very happy" than people with fewer friends. The ability of money to increase happiness seems incredibly weak in comparison to the powers of human connection. Therefore, invest in your connections by scheduling frequent gatherings or dates with those who bring you joy.


Materialistic items such as high-end cars can only bring temporary excitement. Even though these items bring you the satisfaction you desire, you are likely to return to the car dealership in search of a new car not long after buying a new one. When your new car loses its ability to bring you butterflies, you tend to draw the wrong conclusions. You start to doubt your choice of vehicle instead of the idea that you can buy happiness on the auto lot. You thus place your hopes in a new BMW just to be let down once again.


Stress is pricey

It Is no shock that having money undoubtedly minimise stress, at least enough to get out of the pattern of living pay-check to pay-check. People can concentrate on the things that make them happy when there is less stress in their lives. Surprisingly, a lot of high net-worth individuals do also experience stress in their day-to-day lives, even if they do have smaller problems.


A study took place to answer the question of whether higher income can reduce stress. For 30 days, 522 participants recorded their daily occurrences and their feelings in a journal. Participants' income ranged from $10,000 to $150,000 or more. Results showed:


- There was no significant difference in how often participants experienced stressful events - regardless of income, they all reported experiencing roughly the same number of daily problems. But the severity of the negative effects on those with greater earnings was smaller.

- More money brings greater control: People who reported having more control over stressful occurrences reported feeling less stressed. People with large earnings felt more empowered to handle any problems that might emerge.


More money, less empathy

It's tempting to believe that having more money makes you more likely to behave honourably. After all, it's simpler to consider what others might need if you have enough for yourself. However, evidence suggests that this is not always the case: People's sentiments of compassion for others seem to lessen as they move up the social scale. Research has shown that wealth can impact our sense of morality, our relationships with others and even our mental health. As riches grow, empathy declines.


Numerous studies have suggested that having money may make you less empathetic and compassionate. According to research in the journal Psychological Science, those with lower socioeconomic level are better at reading others' facial expressions—a crucial indicator of empathy—than those with higher incomes.


Even fake money, according to a study from UC Berkeley, can cause people to act in a less considerate manner. Researchers found that when two students played Monopoly, the student with significantly more money initially showed uneasiness before acting aggressively, occupying more space, moving his pieces more noisily, and even insulting the student with less money. This concludes that having more money could potentially decrease genuine happiness and worsen you as a person.


Money buys depression

It would make perfect sense to believe that the richer you are, the more happy you become. Evidence, however, suggests that this isn't always the case. In fact, according to recent studies, the more money you have, the more probable it is that you'll suffer from depression and other mental health issues. However, it Is hard to believe that millionaires must be depressed in their mansions!


When it comes to the brains of very successful and rich individuals, there may also be certain physiological factors to take into account. High-powered people are more prone to depression and other mental health disorders because the traits that make a person a good leader are also factors that contribute to mental illness.


Success and hard effort frequently give off an addictive high. A person without an addictive personality can leave their job whenever the workday is finished and unwind to spend time with their family, while addicts and depressives (such those in the highest-ranking positions) discover that they gradually want more stimulation in order to feel normal. They stimulate the same parts of the brain that would be excited by drug use or excessive alcohol use when they work late into the night.


So, does money really buy happiness?

The studies that have been discussed overall show us that even people with luxury homes and nice cars can experience the same daily struggles as someone who can't afford a car.


There is much more to life than money. Even if you don't have lots of zeros in your bank account, you can still earn things like health, compassion, community, love, pride, connectedness, and so much more. Getting rich is not the only way to be content.

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