The relationship between happiness and money only holds for a certain kind of happiness. When people are asked to consider how happy or satisfied they are in general, those with more money report being happier and more satisfied. But when people are asked how happy they are moment to moment in their daily lives–e.g., “how joyful, stressed, angry, affectionate, and sad were you yesterday?” –then those with more money are hardly more likely to have experienced happy feelings. (3) This pattern of results suggests that wealth makes us happy when we are thinking about our lives (“Am I happy over-all? Well, I’m making a good living”), but money has a much smaller impact on our feelings as we actually live our lives (“Am I happy today?). (4)
I’ll finally be happy when I am married to the right person.
I can’t be happy now that we broke up.
If I don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend or get married, how can I ever be happy?
Our romance with the idea of romance has led us to misunderstand the function, complexity, and typical life course of marriage, leaving us disappointed when our marriages don’t constantly fulfill our longings for passion, satisfaction, intimacy, and permanence. As we reflect on our experiences of boredom or waning passion or petty dissatisfaction in our current partnerships, we should reexamine these assumptions and establish the extent to which our experiences may simply be manifestations of an extraordinarily ordinary process. — from Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky p. 21
1. Diener, E., et al. (2002) Dispositional affect and job outcomes. SIR, 59, 229-59.
2. Kahneman and Deaton, PNAS 2010 September, 107 (38) 16489-16493
3. Diener, E., et al. (2010). Wealth and happiness across the world: Material prosperity predicts life evaluation, whereas psychosocial prosperity predicts positive feeling. JPSP, 99, 52-61.
4. Kahneman and Deaton, PNAS 2010 September, 107 (38) 16489-16493 See ch. 6 note 267
5. Lucas, R. E. et al. (2003) Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: Reactions to changes in marital status
6. Fisher, H. (1998). Lust, attraction, and attachment in mammalian relationships.
7. Haring-Hidore, M., et al. (1985). Marital status and subjective well-being: A research synthesis.
8. Krueger, A. B., et al. (2009). Time use and subjective well-being in France and the U.S.
9. Baumeister & Leary (1995), The need to belong: Desire for inter-personal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.
10. Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2003). Parenthood and marital satisfaction: A meta-analytic review.
11. Glenn, N. D., & Weaver, C. N. (1979). A note on family situation and global happiness.
12. Kahneman, D., et al. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method.
13. Mitchell et al. (1997), op. cit. (See ch. 6, note 285).