The theory of motivation put forward by Abraham Maslow at the beginning of the 20th century has a clear figure in his pyramid: it starts with the basic or biological needs that the individual needs and goes steadily upwards until he reaches “Self-actualization” at the top. It includes, among other things, when a human being seeks his personal growth and all the attributes for his realization. Your hypothesis is really interesting. Well, the pyramid was applied to this question: does money bring happiness? From the data of this research, it can be concluded that once the label of self-actualization is reached, money ceases to be important and decisive for achieving happiness. “Hedonic adaptation” comes into play, which is to moderate our happiness after good news. We happily receive the salary increase, but after a few minutes it fades away.
The debate over money and happiness spans decades and controversies. The effects on the hedonic state of well-being had a limit when people let go and did not worry about the essentials. There is a publication in the US that sums it up; 75 thousand euros a year salary and money stops relying on happiness. When we have satisfied the 5 stations of Maslow’s pyramid, money has no relation to happiness. A phenomenon called “resource lag” occurs.
Sometimes donating money in a pro-social act creates joy and happiness, but for a very short time. Then the feeling of “misuse” of money reaches the conscience of the experimental working groups. Working with students in Germany where a group initially donated to pro-social tuberculosis treatment. After a while of this gesture, the happiness indicators decreased. The Dalai Rama would be right when he says that “happiness is not a ready-made thing. It comes from your own actions. The study with the two groups of hypertensives, in which one was asked to donate the money they were given. After a follow-up period, blood pressure values in this group steadily decreased.
If we mix in luck and timing, the findings are surprising. In a medical workgroup, colleagues were allowed to miss a number of activities that prevented them from spending more time with their family. The results show that investing money in time-saving services is associated with greater life satisfaction and happiness. And much less when they invest money and it is spent on a material purchase. How many billionaires have we heard complaining about the large amount of money they have in their wallets. It can certainly be argued that money is necessary to live and allows us to develop as human beings. Economic crises are known to increase depression and anxiety states, and this has recently been observed in every country in the world.
When people feel well, they get sick less often and have a better quality of life. When they are happy, they are healthier. Happiness, that elusive word, depends on the brain and especially on its neurotransmitters. Circulating dopamine travels through the pleasure and pain circuits, stimulating reward circuits. Its low levels cause cognitive changes, especially in concentration. Recent evolutionary structural adaptations, the orbitofrontal cortex of the prefrontal lobe, are tuned to levels of happiness and pleasure.
And the genetics of happiness? Many studies show that happiness has a genetic component and our chromosomes determine the tendency. Some overstate it (University of Minnesota, 1996: 50% genetics and 8% other), but perhaps what is accepted today is that 36% explains well-being and 32% satisfaction with the realities of life. How important it is to enjoy the present, have healthy habits and dress with optimism. These three elements combined overcome the genetic tendency we come with. This is the sign of the brain: our way of life.
A life led by happiness should be the goal, and there we find some paths where positive psychology shows us how to do it. Let’s charge ourselves with positive emotions all the time: past, present and future. Seligman proposes optimal experiences as stream of consciousness. Arm yourself with relationships that nurture a sense of well-being and lead us to search for the meaning of life: we are social elements. Finish by setting goals on the road to happiness. These are the achievements we set out to achieve and achieve.
In Forbes magazine, I found the article by the psychologist Kahneman and the economist Deaton – they won the Nobel Prize in economics – and the conclusion of the 2010 work was that high incomes buy life satisfaction, but not happiness. There is an interesting point in the last part of the reflection and that is that income is only a modest determinant of happiness and people should not focus more on money.
And the money? It is a means that would allow the positive forces to be achieved.