Is happiness more important than wealth?

Today was the United Nations International Day of Happiness :-). Smile everyone!

The day invites us to reclaim happiness, to see past the idea that happiness is having money and buying things, or being beautiful and famous, or that the wealthier our nations are, the happier we are.  

They ask: have you had enough of being made to feel poor in a world that is rich with opportunities to be happy? Or do you think we should just stay focused on money and material things? Not surprisingly, the results of a survey they ran showed that 87% of people would rather live in a society with the greatest happiness rather than one with the greatest wealth.  On the surface of it, this seems obvious to me. You can be a happy poor person or a totally miserable millionaire! We have all seen what fame and wealth does to some celebrities. They chase the dream of money and success in a bid to find happiness, but sometimes they should be careful what they wish for as they discover that these things don’t shield  them from life’s sometimes harsh realities.

It is obvious that money can’t buy happiness. However, a lack of money can certainly make you depressed and unhappy, and it must be hard to be truly happy when you are so poor you cannot feed and house yourself and your family. Anxiety over money can make each day feel relentlessly difficult.

We all need a certain amount of wealth. Enough to put a roof over our heads, to provide nutritious food and adequate clothing. After that, everything is a bonus. When we strive for more all the time – a better car or house, designer clothes, expensive holidays, a glossy magazine lifestyle – then our focus shifts to how to achieve those things in order to find the happiness and satisfaction that we crave rather than  to the things that actually do make people happy. Good relationships with family and friends, the chance to relax,  to be creative, even just to get out in the fresh air, to have fun; once you have the basics covered these are the things to focus on.

We are bombarded with so many fake and misleading images of happiness in adverts and the media that we often forget what really matters. We need to change our focus, to learn to be happy with just what we need and just a bit more, and to consider the things that will really give us a sustainably happy life.

It’s not easy but if we can simplify our lives, and learn to live well with less money maybe we really will find the secret 🙂

Jumping off my soapbox now and going to bed. Off on my hols tomorrow! Will try to blog but may not appear much as I’m not sure I will have internet access. Have a happy week!