Happiness Is …

Recently several news sources reported on the results of a study published in the journal Emotion which pointed out how the power of money influences the way we experience happiness.

Few will be surprised to learn that among the wealthy, feelings of happiness are generally felt when the focus is on themselves. Those with more limited incomes tend to experience happiness when focused on others.

According to the study, people with higher incomes tend to be more insulated from social and environmental concerns, which gives them the luxury of being able to focus on their own personal needs rather than worrying about other people. Moreover, they tend to surround themselves with other wealthy people, thus further insulating themselves.

The study also indicated that those with higher incomes tend to agree with statements indicating they felt pride (“It feels good to know that people look up to me”) and contentment (“I feel satisfied more than most people”). Those with less money tend to focus more on the needs of others (“Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling”).

One can’t help but ask, “Isn’t worrying (or caring) about others something everyone (rich or poor) should value (particularly if they are in a leadership role)?” In other words, how do you help the poor if you can’t see beyond yourself and your own needs?

While this doesn’t necessarily mean wealthy people are happier overall, what gives them satisfaction is certainly different from “the rest of us.”

Following is an excerpt from the study that validates this information:

Upper and lower class individuals possess different resources
(e.g., income) and inhabit distinct environments, which shape their
concerns and priorities in unique ways. Increased material resources
afford upper class individuals greater autonomy and reduced
exposure to social and environmental threat, giving rise to
an internal, self-oriented focus— greater attention to one’s internal
states and goals and increased independence from others, as evidenced,
for example, by decreased social attentiveness and more
self-interested behavior. By contrast, lower class individuals are
exposed to more threats to their well-being (e.g., increased crime,
poorly funded schools), and they possess fewer resources to cope
with these threats. As a result, lower class individuals develop an
external, other-oriented focus— greater vigilance to the social
context and interdependence with others.

Personal note: I don’t think I need to point out how the truth of this report is evidenced in our country today.

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14 thoughts on “Happiness Is …

  1. If forms of monetary items and their engordged quantities were really really important for basic life, more so a “happy” life, then would not U.S. Dollars, the Euro, the Yen, the British Pound, the Swiss Franc, or the Aussie/NZ Dollar been made during the formation of the Universe/Cosmos and then Earth? Or does our human body and human psychology REALLY need one of the most UNedible elements in the Universe to survive? A good article on this:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sten-odenwald/a-gold-diggers-guide-to-t_b_6707246.html

    I say monetary items and gold are a man-made hyper-marketing scheme for the gullible peasants/masses. Hahahaha! Give me food, water (preferably spirits!), shelter, fire, oxygen, sleep, and fun great friends/family… and I’m REAL F*CKIN’ STOKED about life! 🤣 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A cheerful song with sarcastic lyrics. If “this” is the life, thank you 🙂

    If you have read this description before, I’m sure you’ll also nlike it again:
    Happiness is what you will encounter along your way, as coins and never in the form of a banknote.
    .-

    Liked by 2 people

  3. . . . a warm gun (bang bang shoot shoot) ~John Lennon

    But I can’t confirm that.:)

    As to wealth, I think it just amplifies your personality. The caring and compassionate (Gates and Zuckerberg have given away billions) will be that way regardless of their wealth or social status, whereas the a-holes become even bigger a-holes once they achieve success.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the articles did point out the generosity of a couple of wealthy individuals and included Warren Buffett. But one must admit, those who share their wealth tend to be in the minority (or perhaps aren’t as “newsworthy”).

      But the point of the post (and the study) is wealth and the pursuit of personal happiness seem to go hand-in-hand. IOW … I’ve got mine. Who cares about you?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not sure how you drew those conclusions. The linked study examines how social class is differentially associated with the self-reported tendencies to experience seven distinct positive emotions that are (assumed to be) core to happiness: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love, and pride.

    It concluded that:

    – higher social class was positively associated with amusement, contentment, and pride;
    – lower social class was asociated with love, awe and compassion; and
    – there were no class differences in enthusiasm.

    It also acknowledges that these associations were statistically small in magnitude, but comparable to those documented in prior studies on social class and patterns of social and emotional responding, including empathic tendencies.

    But nowhere does it state, imply, or hypothesize that wealth and the pursuit of personal happiness go hand-in-hand, or that higher class is associated with an “I’ve got mine. Who cares about you?” attitude.

    Like

    • I don’t know what it is, Ron, but it seems like every comment you make on my blog is argumentative.

      I happened to interpret the study differently that you based on the articles produced by the various news sources. Each of them made the same point I did in my post, as well as in my comment to you. Yes, there was more to the study (as you pointed out), but I felt the excerpt I posted summed it up quite well.

      I admit the “I’ve got mine” comment was rather snide, but this is the attitude that has been demonstrated time and time again among the wealthy — and it’s quite pointed in our current POTUS.

      Like

      • How am I being argumentative? I’m simply challenging your notions. And under your blog rules it says: I look forward to stimulating and challenging discussions.

        But if you’d rather I refrain from posting on your blog, just say so outright and I’ll honor that request without protest.

        Like

        • You “challenge” things quite frequently. No, there’s nothing wrong with that. And yes, it can make for some interesting discussions. I suppose it’s how it’s done that makes the difference … and on many occasions, I sense a defiant, argumentative tone in your words. The “discussion” you had with Scottie on another post is a good example. I feel fairly certain this isn’t your intent … but the written word can be unforgiving.

          You are welcome to continue commenting as often as you wish. ‘Nuf said.

          Like

  5. The study just reaffirms what thinking individuals have already observed. Jesus did mention that it would be difficult for the rich to enter his kingdom. We-humans are a strange species, indeed. Material wealth and the power that comes with it make us believe we are gods with control over life and death.

    Liked by 2 people

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