Can money really make our hapiness?

20 Août 2014, 19:49pm

Publié par Asma Oudina

As Salem alaikum to all. How are you?


Well let me tell you, yes, for the love of Allah, I decided to return the books that I have borrowed for a while at home to the library. Indeed, I told myself that if I died tomorrow without sending them back, I would have to justify myself to my Creator on the day of the resurrection and to those who had loaned me those books...


However, I was afraid of the reaction of the librarian... Nope, she greeted me with a nice smile, telling me it was normal, it happened to everyone!


Great! I took the opportunity to re-register and I came across this wonderful book: "Why your head does heal your body?"


Very curious by nature and always in the aim of understanding the Creator’s wisdom, I am fond of personal development books because it is very informative regarding the quest of happiness.


This book here is very interesting since it compiles several experiments in the field of psychology to understand the influence of our mind on our body.


However a special experience caught my attention in the chapter "The everyday health". A part of the book (p.21-25) explains "the effect of the generosity on happiness and health," see where I'm coming? And here we are...


The authors have focused on two experiments: one asks whether the money could still bring happiness and the other if to serve and help others could have an influence on health.


Could it be that money makes even so hapiness?


It is often said: "Money cannot buy happiness but it helps." In fact, this expression is not entirely false, it is even totally true. On one condition: this money should be spent for others and not for oneself as it has been concluded by several scientific studies.


While many scientific studies have attempted to measure the effect of the money spent for  oneself happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at Vancouver tested something else. She wanted to know the impact of the money spent for other people’s happiness. Her research has proven that spending money for others had a much greater impact on happiness than on themselves. Indeed the one who receives the money fells joy but the one who gave it can also feel a lot this joy too.

She also noticed that money’s power takes away people from happiness, because many of them think it can be bought as a consumer good, or it is totally wrong.


"One of the most surprising explorations of this research was to find that people often spend their earnings in the pursuit of goals that actually represent an additional burden in relation to happiness, because they think that happiness can be bought as a consumer good. "


Money can make you happy provided you make the right choice


So money can make you happy provided you make the right choice. If having money increases our individualism, makes us less altruistic and more selfish, then it will make us unhappy;


"Just knowing you have money makes it less likely the help we can bring to his acquaintance, to charity or to devote his time to others, all forms of behavior that are highly associated with happiness."


However, if this money is spent for accomplishing such prosocial goals, then it will be a vector of happiness for the individual who was able to spend it wisely.


Three studies to prove that

To test those hypotheses, three studies were conducted by Elizabeth Dunn and her colleagues in 2008.


The first one with a representative sample of Americans

"The first research was accomplished on a representative sample of 632 Americans, 55% of women to measure their propensity to happiness according to their annual income, current expenses, gifts for themselves or for others and also to donations. In each case, people were asked to rate on a scale from 1 to 5 their satisfaction after making the expenditure in question. The results showed that the way people spend their money is as important as the amount they own. Also the fact that spending moneye on others is a more effective way to reach happiness than spending money for oneself only. "


The second one with employees

The second study was produced among employees of an insurance company that had received a bonus at year-end from 3000 to 8000 dollars. The survey sought to measure if employees experienced greater happiness after receiving the bonus in spending for others rather than for themselves. 6 to 8 weeks later, the employees indicated what percentage they spent for their personal bills, their rents and loans, for personal purchases or to offer something to someone else and also for donations. The responses clearly indicate that those who have dedicated a portion of their bonus to social causes have felt more happiness, and how they spent it was a much more important predictor of their happiness than the bonus itself. This study showed that those who had given a third of their money for charitable donation or social causes had a coefficient of happiness 20% higher than those who had kept everything for themselves only.



The third one with Canadian students



 "The third experiment was conducted with Canadian students who received early in the day an envelope containing between 5 and 20 dollars and who had to spend it for 5 hours in the afternoon. We asked half the group to spend the money for personal purchases, invoices or gifts she could afford. The other part of the group had to spend the money on a gift for someone or for a charitable donation. This analysis revealed a significant major effect: "the students who had spent their money for others experienced a significantly higher happiness."


It is therefore concluded that the money actually makes the happiness on condition that it has to be spent on others. Money spending in a personal capacity for material and pointless pleasures does not increase our happiness.


At the same time, other researchers wanted to know more widely whether the fact of helping and serving others could affect our health.


Altruism could increase our happiness and our life span.


This sense of empathy and natural generosity within us could increase our life span because it would make us much happier and blooming:


"In a survey by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Stephanie Brown and her colleagues (2003) followed 423 couples for 5 years who were helpful or were helping materially to another person, even if it was only once a year. The type of service or assistance could range from support to remote members of a family to child care. These acts of generosity were not subject to any financial compensation. The researchers also included in this type of assistance the emotional support between spouses. Finally, study participants answered a questionnaire about their lifestyle. The results showed that those who made ​​the service were healthier and had a risk of mortality by 40% to 60% lower than those who said they had never helped anyone during the previous year. "


So to be healthy, you have to be generous and altruistic, that is to say helping others without waiting for financial compensation or return but just for fun. This would greatly increase our life span (from 40% to 60%) and produce positive effects on our health, which is not negligible.


In fact, according to Shelley Taylor, a professor of psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles, in her book The Tending Instinct (2003): "Being helpful can contribute in relieving the accumulated stress and it provides psychological benefits because you give meaning to your life. "


Asma Oudina :


Traduction : Yasmine Benali. Contact :


Version française :  Dépenser son argent pour les autres rend davantage heureux et rallonge notre durée de vie

Can money really make our hapiness?
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