Can Happiness Buy Money?

David Krueger MD

Didn’t we already (sort of) settle the inverse of this question in my earlier blog, Money And Happiness: The Real Relationship?
While happiness is a result and not a goal, consider these assorted findings:
  • Several thousand college freshmen were rated according to their cheerfulness. Two decades later, those who ranked at the top of the cheerfulness measures earned an average income 31% higher than those with lower scores.
  • A study of employees at three U.S. companies found that those with increased happiness measured over an 18-month period had higher salary increases during that period.
  • People with greater left prefrontal cortex activity – the area of the brain that generates happiness – produce more antibodies and have stronger immune systems. Greater activity in this part of the brain also relates to lower levels of stress hormone. (Neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson)
  • Dutch men and women who laughed more often and had more positive views of the future had a 25% lower risk of mortality than those less optimistic.
  • Expansiveness and extroversion correlate with a lower risk of diabetes.
  • Employees with a more consistently good mood miss fewer days of work.
  • And happiness can help keep money. Unhappy people – specifically those who are sad – become self focused and spend as much as 300% more for the same item. (Dr. Cynthia Cryder) The act of spending stimulates the pleasure center of the brain and temporarily counters both sadness and anxiety.
Although not definitive, these findings suggest that happiness – a register of positive energy – can increase the most tangible and universal emblem of energy – money.