For a long time we’ve know that money is NOT the key to happiness. Yesterday’s WSJ reports (sub required) on recent research into happiness including a new publication by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and others. Among the findings: more money does not necessarily translate into more happiness.
The story notes that two things that can improve happiness are keeping your commute time short and making good use of leisure time. From the article,
“Keep your commute short. Tempted to use your latest pay raise to buy a big house in a distant suburb? Don’t do it. While we often adjust amazingly well to life’s hardships, commuting is an exception. ‘You can’t adapt to commuting, because it’s entirely unpredictable,’ says Daniel Gilbert, author of ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ and a psychology professor at Harvard University. ‘Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.’
“Use your leisure time wisely. Surveys show that leisure is better for your happiness than work. But much also depends on how you spend your leisure time. Passive activities like watching television usually don’t make folks as happy as eating. A good meal, in turn, doesn’t rank quite as highly as active leisure activities, such as socializing with friends.”
I’ve worked with Kahneman on happiness research (we are both Gallup Senior Scientists) on Gallup’s Soul of the City survey. My new book will include several chapters on place and happiness and results show that the place you live has a BIG effect on happiness. I’ll be talking about that at Gallup’s Positive Psychology Summit this fall.
(posted by Richard)