“Money can’t buy happiness” as the old addage goes, and every once in awhile, that’s actually true, too. Yesterday, for example, I read an article based on scientific research that suggested that it’s the simple things in life that make people truly happy. Having lived a very simple, and yet very stressful, life these past three years, I do — and do not — agree with this sentiment.
According to the article, which was based on a study commissioned by the National Lottery, Richard Tunney of the University’s School of Psychology found that the simple things in life create the most positive impact on our sense of well being.
The study used the “Satisfaction with Life Scale” survey developed by the University of Illinois, and compared the answers provided by lottery jackpot winners to those of the control group. Respondents were asked how satisfied they were in relation to different elements of their life, their different mood states, how often they treated themselves and what form this took.
Not suprisingly, lottery winners (95 percent) were happier than the control group (71 percent), however, when the sorts of “treats” that people rewarded themselves with were compared, Tunney found that it was the inexpensive things, such as enjoying a bottle of wine, and cost-free activities, such as going for a walk, that gave the most pleasure.
“While buying sports cars, giving up work and going on exotic holidays is out of reach for most of us, there are small lessons we can learn from society’s happiest people to help improve our quality of life,” observed Tunney.
“It appears that spending time relaxing is the secret to a happy life. Cost-free pleasures are the ones that make the difference — even when you can afford anything that you want.”
Of course, I agree with this, but I also think that the basics, like rent and food, etc., must be taken care of first before a person can actually enjoy his or her life with “the simple things”. And that, of course, takes money.
So this leads me to ask, after all your living expenses are paid, what do you enjoy doing most?