With respect to money, we can read almost daily about how there is literally no difference in reported levels of happiness based on how much money you earn. The author did determine (which is agreed upon by other studies) that if you win the lottery or if you earned a big raise in your paycheck then you will be “happy” momentarily, but that happiness is short-lived. Within a year, after interviewed, the evidence showed that the person’s level of happiness had reverted to what it was prior to the raise. In other words, it really made no difference. Once out of the poverty level, making decent money to obscene amounts of money had no difference on the happiness of the individual. Perhaps it is due to the amazing and consistent ability of humans to become “habituated” to their new circumstances. A new house seems incredible and should yield so much joy, but after a year, the abode gives the same degree of happiness than the previous dwelling, as the new owners became adjusted and acclimated to their new surroundings.
If all of the above mattered little, then what mattered much? The nice thing that the author discovered was that things that matter more to how “happy” you are appear to be more within your control to change. For example, physical fitness, sleep, periodic solitude, self esteem, personal control, optimism, extraversion, “flow” work (where there is just the right balance of ability and achievement vs. stress and time needed to complete the job), supportive friendships (including marriages), and religion and spirituality are in an individual’s power to control. One isolated factor than made people more happy were their relative levels of physical attractiveness which may be more difficult to control, but is certainly controllable (one does have the ability to wear in style clothes, exercise to achieve a healthy figure, mind things like makeup and hairstyle to fit in with what is deemed attractive, and maintain proper hygiene). A recent study I just read a short while ago that one of the big “deal breakers” in new relationships was not the power and money the other had, but rather proper hygiene was the most valued quality…which is certainly within one’s control.
The author found that achieving the above mattered a great deal to happiness, and this is an optimistic find. For example, physically fit people were found to be slightly happier. You could of course get a gym membership and exercise daily. In the area of sleep, you could take measures to assure yourself a proper night’s sleep by many means at your disposal, including sleep hygiene and if necessary sleep medication. In the next area is periodic solitude. There is no doubt that periodic solitude is good for everyone, whether you spend that time playing chess on the Internet, meditating, praying, taking walks in Nature, etc. where you are able to have your own “alone time” to do and accomplish things unique and important to yourself.
Some of the other qualities that made a person happier were found as strategies in earlier parts of this book. Seeking to choose to be a more enlightened person, going to church regularly, seeking truth, reaching out to friends and contacts at work, helping others get what they want… all of those things are within your control to do. These all buttress and support one another, and as your self esteem and awareness increases (this is not the same as your ego), you will become a happier person. So good luck in your quest to be happy. I truly hope that I have in some way helped you achieve some bliss in your life.