Periodically, we come across new research that looks into what makes people happy. When we find it, we often like to share that research with clients and others. Today, we bring you a really insightful article that was recently published in the Wall Street Journal. You can see the original article here:
Just to give you a taste of what the research discussed in this article and other research we’ve seen in the past has taught us so far:
- Although the transition from working life to retirement can sometimes be a little rocky, most people who can make ends meet in retirement are fairly happy or happier than they were while still working. A person’s self worth and self esteem are often related to who they were at work and what they did for a living; however, in retirement, this often changes.
- Your experiences tend to improve your happiness more than what you have or how much money you have. However, an even more important factor is who you have the experiences with: i.e., your relationships with others affect your happiness levels! We’ve always had a gut feeling that relationships were the key to happiness; the research appears to support that. Happiness comes primarily from your relationships with loved ones and friends; those you care about. Material wealth (“stuff”) really helps build your happiness only to the extent you personally get joy and pleasure from the items you own: if you have an item just to try to impress others, or if your primary focus on wealth is what others think about you as a result of it, then material wealth can actually work against your happiness.
- Finding meaning and fulfillment in life is important because it gives you purpose beyond just existing. Most humans have a desire to do good, to help others in need, and to do their small part in making this world a slightly better place for having them in it.
In summary, life is not a contest or a race, it is about the journey. Enjoy it to the fullest, but be aware that thinking about and interacting with others is the best way to achieve happiness, and that hedonism rarely makes you truly happy. Most of us will never have any control of when we leave this world but we can do our best while we are here. Enjoy the journey!