Can money really buy happiness? There are lots of debates on the subject. Some individuals seem to think that it can, others would disagree. Several individuals researches show that spending money on others can satisfy basic psychological needs and boost happiness.
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Although a great deal of research shows that wealthy people are somewhat happier than people living in poverty, a recent research by Elisabet W. Dunn(University of British Columbia,) Michael I. Norton(Harvard University) and Lara Aknin(Simon Fraser University) suggests that spending those extra few bucks in your pocket on people in need could bring you more joy than spending it on yourself.
The benefits of such prosocial spending emerge among adults around the world, and the warm glow of giving can be detected even in toddlers. These benefits are most likely to emerge when giving satisfies one or more core human needs (relatedness, competence, and autonomy). The rewards of prosocial spending are observable in both the brain and the body and can potentially be harnessed by organizations and governments.
In their article “Prosocial Spending and Happiness: Using Money to Benefit Others Pays Off” published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science in February 2014, they demonstrate this counter-intuitive thesis by describing a series of studies, many of which they conducted themselves. The researchers bring back their own study from 2008 in which participants were given $5 to $20. Half of them were asked to spend it on themselves and the other half to spend it on others. In the end of the day those who spent the money on someone else reported happier moods compared to those who had to spend it on themselves.
They also point to a study from 2012 which states that contrary to the traditional economic theory which depicts human beings as fundamentally motivated by self interest, people who routinely engage in prosocial acts such as giving blood or donating to charity – acts that require them to incur personal costs for the benefit of others are associated with positive emotions. The study found evidence that even children feel happiness when giving to others. Toddlers around the age of two who gave crackers or Teddy Grehams to their puppet buddies showed more signs of happiness compared to those who received the threats themselves.
Read: 5 Ways to Save Money, While Still Enjoying Life
Their results prove to be true not only in the U.S. or other wealthy nations. They found a significant relationship between giving and happiness in 120 out of 136 researched countries. Wealth did not seem to matter at all.
So yeah, money can make you happy 🙂
Written by Stan(founder of I Heart Intelligence) for Endoriot.com