Harvard recommends these 3 things if you want to live a happy life

Harvard recommends these 3 things if you want to live a happy life

via Cecilia Zinicola and Matthew Green

These are results of studies over dozens of years on thousands of participants.

Happiness studies are having their heyday, and research shows that improving our material prosperity beyond basic financial security doesn’t make us happier. There are other things instead that have a bigger impact on making us truly happy.

Spiritual considerations are, of course, important—religious faith has been shown to have benefits for our physical and psychological health and well-being—but even from a secular perspective, there are some tips that can help us to focus on things that will make us happier. Here are three such ideas: two from Harvard professors, and one that emerged from work done by a Harvard graduate student.

Spend money … on other people

According to Harvard professor Michael Norton, spending money on other people makes us happier than spending it on ourselves.

All too often, we think that being rich, and buying all the latest gadgets, the best cars, or the nicest house, will bring us bliss. Yet, all we have to do is watch the news or hear a little bit of celebrity gossip to know that money doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. According to Norton, the reason money doesn’t make us happy is because we spend it on the wrong things, and, in particular, on the wrong people: ourselves.

A broad study carried out in several countries, both rich and poor, showed that the people who spend money on others are happier than those who don’t. Spending money on yourself doesn’t necessarily make you miserable, but if what you want is to be happy, self-centered spending is a wasted opportunity.

In addition, the study showed that the amount of money you spend doesn’t matter very much. We can spend on small things, and even so obtain the same happiness boost as spending more. What matters is focusing on others, and not on yourself…

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