Why Money Can't Buy Happiness | Unraveling the Myth

False promise of wealth: Why money can’t buy happiness

Our lifestyles have become the kind where we chase money rather than a sense of purpose. But there is nothing that ties money with happiness. It can certainly buy momentarily pleasure but it isn’t the only path to long-term happiness.

Money is essential. Imagine your reserves plummeting and you fretting over meeting expenses on a daily basis. It is sure to make you lose sleep. Money smoothens life to a great extent as you go about paying your bills while heaving a sigh of relief knowing that there is a contingency fund too. However, chasing money thinking that it will bring happiness is a false notion that many subscribe to.

The American Psychological Association published an article which talked about wealthy people and the problems faced by them. A number of people considered wealthy were interviewed, and it was found that loneliness, less trustworthy friends, life-threatening and irreversible diseases, and children not following a purpose were some of the issues that plagued them. For many, it got too bothersome to completely enjoy the perks of surplus money.

In this era of technology and social media, there is a constant bombardment of brands, inclination towards a luxurious lifestyle and pretence of money induced happiness. So it may become easy to fall prey to the ‘false web of happiness’ that wealth brings. When one starts chasing it, not keeping into account the basic requisites of a happy and healthy life, one may find happiness eluding them, in spite of increased wealth.

Further, as one spends more time in making money, they often compromise on health, both physical and mental – an absolute must to enjoy life whole-heartedly. With no time to pursue passions in a race to the finish line, people also tend to suffer from stress and other maladies. It has been seen that an unchecked pursuit of wealth often derails one from the actual path to happiness. So let us delve deeper into why money can’t buy happiness, although we buy innumerable things with it.

Disgruntled and chasing impossibility

Once you start wanting more money and more possessions even when you seem to have it all, know that it’s a trap that engulfing you. You may be looking for that indescribable happiness that you felt when you bought your first vehicle or home. But clothes, home décor and stuff that once brought pleasure seem to look like unwanted junk now.

At this point, it is important to remember that happiness of receiving something for the first time is seldom replicated. Further, getting too many possessions clutter the mind, bringing stress and anxiety with it instead of that elusive happiness.

Adding more, stressing more about possessions

The more ‘things’ you have, the more you might be stressing about their upkeep and safety. If you keep thinking about maintaining or upgrading to a certain level of lifestyle, you will be under constant stress. It can even be overwhelming at times. Ironically, doing so takes you away from the simple pleasures of life that actually give contentment and fulfilment.

Taking a few moments to stroll in the fresh air in a garden, appreciating a colourful bunch of flowers or a fruit loaded tree, are things that melt away stress, not materialistic possessions. These are the simple pleasures that refresh and rejuvenate. So, while your workplace or home may be loaded with luxuries and things necessary to make you feel comfortable, it is nature and the outdoors and not indoors that  add to what the wise call transient happiness.

Comparison and envy

We need money to buy something and everything. This makes money an important part of our lives. But finding happiness through money alone tends to trap us into the vicious cycle of comparisons. We end up comparing our tangibles and lifestyle with one and all – it could be our neighbour, our sibling, our friend or co-worker. Doing so brings envy into our persona, a negative emotion, which hampers our productivity, creativity and focus in the long run.

If envy makes itself home in our mind and behaviour, it costs our mental wellbeing dearly.

Lost sense of purpose

It is a sense of purpose that drives us to attain our everyday goals and long-term goals as humans. These goals align us with our passions, drive us towards fulfilment. They lead us  towards what our happiness is; a combination of our values, what gives us a sense of fulfilment, using our skill set and continuously improving.

While racing towards wealth, this sense of purpose often gets lost. We end up chasing money and pleasures but diminishing our purpose and value.

Relationships suffer

It is often seen, and not just in movies, that when the chase for money increases, relationships take a backseat. The strain in relationships and bonds caused by hustle for riches is one that is hard to recover from. Even if we fill our lives with expensive things, there will be a vacuum if family and love bonds are missing. As humans are social animals, it is difficult to sustain ourselves without meaningful relationships.

To drive this point home, one can ask friends who stay overseas for work about how much they miss the people they grew up with, the traditions, festivals and their community. They look for that happiness and fulfilment through their visits back home or by developing a close-knit community in their country of residence. No amount of riches can lend you that warmth.

When you meet an old friend after a long time or look at photos of momentous occasions,   happiness fills your heart. Similarly, remembering good times spent with family and friends give you unparalleled joy. Ironically, the tangibles seldom bring the same level of happiness as these things. So remember that money alone can’t bring happiness, we need to live a little!


What is the false notion about money?

Chasing money thinking that it will bring more happiness is a false notion that many subscribe to.

What happens when we search for happiness through money alone?

Finding happiness through money alone can trap people into the vicious cycle of comparisons. We end up comparing our tangibles and lifestyle with one and all – it could be our neighbour, our sibling, our friend or co-worker.




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