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Some psychological reflections on happiness

All you have to do…


…is answer the following questions honestly.




OK, here we go (answer each from 1 to 5, where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree)


1. I am impressed by people who wear expensive clothes and drive expensive cars.


2. Buying expensive items makes me feel good about myself.


3. I enjoy owning items that others are impressed by.


4. It bothers me that I can’t afford certain luxury goods.


5. I like to be surrounded by expensive items.


So how did you do?


These questions were adapted from a University study on happiness levels.


And what did researchers find?


The higher the score people gave on these questions, the lower there levels of reported happiness in a separate survey.


So if you found yourself answering 4 or 5 to one or several of the questions, you may want to think about how happy (or unhappy) it makes you.


And what’s …


…the antidote to shallow materialism which offers all and delivers little?


Here’s the top 2 things that various psychological studies (and believe me I’ve read many) consistently show improves happiness levels for people…


Focus on experiences, not things.


Things give you temporary and addictive feelings of happiness. A short-lived rush of dopamine that quickly disappears and leaves you wanting more.


Experiences, particularly shared with those dear to you, they give lasting feelings of fulfillment.


And what’s more…


They live on.


So the memories you create when having experiences can be revised again and again, each time producing feelings of warmth and fulfillment.


And the second thing?


Give more. Take less.


Long term scientific studies on happiness show that people become happier the more they give.


Give time.
Give energy.
Give from the heart.


So, it really is those small acts of kindness that make a difference.


And if you want to rocket your happiness levels to the moon and back?


Make giving your job.


So, find a vocation that by definition is making a difference and giving to others or the world we live in.


Find a purpose.
Live that purpose.
Make a difference.


Seems simple doesn’t it?


Yes it still amazes me how many people fall into the marketing trap of “promised happiness through things.”


(due to some pretty skillful marketing by advertising people)


I’m off to focus on what psychology has taught us about real, lasting happiness.


How about you?


To your happiness and fulfillment.





Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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