Even more important to your happiness is your relationship with your <a href="https://besthookupwebsites.org/the-adult-hub-review/">the adult hub dating</a> aptly named “significant other

You endlessly compare yourself with the family next door. H.L. Mencken once quipped that the happy man is one who earns $100 more than his wife’s sister’s husband. Happiness scholars have found that how you stand relative to others makes a much bigger difference in your sense of well-being than how much you make in an absolute sense.

You orous lives of the absurdly wealthy, but the group you likely compare yourself with are folks Dartmouth economist Erzo Luttmer calls “similar others”-the people you work with, people you grew up with, old friends and old classmates. “You have to think, ‘I could have been that person,’ ” Luttmer says.

Matching census data on earnings with data on self-reported happiness from a national survey, Luttmer found that, sure enough, your happiness can depend a great deal on your neighbors’ paychecks. “If you compare two people with the same income, with one living in a richer area than the other,” Luttmer says, “the person in the richer area reports being less happy.”

Your penchant for comparing yourself with the guy next door, like your tendency to grow bored with the things that you acquire, seems to be a deeply rooted human trait. An inability to stay satisfied is arguably one of the key reasons prehistoric man moved out of his drafty cave and began building the civilization you now inhabit. But you’re not living in a cave, and you likely don’t have to worry about mere survival. You can afford to step off the hedonic treadmill. The question is, how do you do it?

Money bliss

If you want to know how to use the money you have to become happier, you need to understand just what it is that brings you happiness in the first place. And that’s where the newest happiness research comes in.

He was right

Friends and family are a mighty elixir. One secret of happiness? People. Innumerable studies suggest that having friends matters a great deal. Large-scale surveys by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC), for example, have found that those with five or more close friends are 50% more likely to describe themselves as “very happy” than those with smaller social circlespared with the happiness-increasing powers of human connection, the power of money looks feeble indeed. So throw a party, set up regular lunch dates-whatever it takes to invest in your friendships.

” People in happy, stable, committed relationships tend to be far happier than those who aren’t. Among those surveyed by NORC from the 1970s through the 1990s, some 40% of ong the never-married, only about a quarter were quite so exuberant. But there is good reason to choose wisely. Divorce brings misery to everyone involved, though those who stick it out in a terrible marriage are the unhappiest of all.

While a healthy marriage is a clear happiness booster, the kids who tend to follow are more of a mixed blessing. Studies of kids and happiness have come up with little more than a mess of conflicting data. “When you take moment-by-moment readouts of how people feel when they’re taking care of the kids, they actually aren’t very happy,” notes Cornell University psychologist Tom Gilovich. “But if you ask them, they say that having kids is one of the most enjoyable things they do with their lives.”

Doing things can bring us more joy than having things. Our preoccupation with stuff obscures an important truth: the things that don’t last create the most lasting happiness. That’s what Gilovich and Leaf Van Boven of the University of Colorado found when they asked students to compare the pleasure they got from the most recent things they bought with the experiences (a night out, a vacation) they spent money on.