We’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness, but there is a study suggests it’s more linked to happiness than people think. According to a Princeton University study that looked at more than 1,000 people in the US and Canada, money can actually buy happiness, but not in the way you may think. [Sources: 3, 20]
What researchers discovered
After answering questions about whether money can “buy happiness,” the researchers compared the answers to respondents’ incomes. They discovered that contrary to popular belief that relationships and experiences are more important to happiness. The findings showed that it’s our own perception of how we perceive our own income, education, and occupation standing in comparison with others that impacts our happiness. A sort of, are we keeping up with the Joneses or are we were we are meant to be for our socio economic standing.
Time or Money
Additionally research conducted on 1,000 graduating students from The University of British Colombia, asked them whether they tended to value time over money. Whilst the small majority prioritized time, still 40% prioritized money.
They then went back a year later to those same students and discovered that the ones who prioritized money over time ended up less happy after graduation compared to the 60% who prioritized time.
So next time someone says, “Can’t money buy happiness?,” remember that they’re only half-right.
Money may not buy happiness in the conventional sense, but there are a lot of things we can do to with money to increase our happiness.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can spend your money now and which are the most likely to bring you happiness. The most effective way to use money to increase happiness is to spend it on others. [Sources: 2, 10]
Research suggests that people who can help others financially are more likely to be happier. Despite the old adage that money cannot buy happiness, new economists are gathering evidence that money can make people happier if you know the right way to use it. [Sources: 11, 23]
Cash & Happiness
If you have cash, you may be happier spending it on someone else, but it doesn’t guarantee happiness. Another way to make more luck out of money is to use it to pay off debt. If you are not already happy, money can bring you a temporary escape from your inner well-being. Wealth can also serve long-term health goals, where it’s total absence can cause misery. [Sources: 12, 15, 19, 23]
Happiness economists are interested not only in how money makes individuals happier, but also in how money can affect an entire country’s happiness. If you compare the number of people in a country with money to give and those who gave and spent, you see that rich people are actually much happier than poor people. This discovery has the potential to change the way we use money, the money we earn and spend, and possibly even make our lives happier overall. [Sources: 13, 23]
Money as a Facilitator
Of course, having money beyond the basics of food and shelter acts as a facilitator. With money, you can buy experiences or things that can in turn bring about happiness. For example, I have always loved Formula One. That’s not the cheapest of sports to try and follow, and I had a goal to travel the world one race at a time. My first race was the Belgium Grand Prix in Spa and I managed to go fairly cheaply, even though I had some pretty hot race day tickets. My second race I decided to do the Monaco Grand Prix. That meant a helicopter flight from Nice, a top hotel in the middle of Monte Carlo, dinner in the most exclusive restaurants and again of course the hottest race tickets available. That trip to Monaco was eye-wateringly expensive especially versus the trip to Spa. But which one do you think I remember the most with the fondest of memories. Which one do you think I reminisce about the most?
As expensive as that was, that trip brought me so much happiness and joy and memories that I would pay double to experience that again.
So you see if you want to buy happiness, you need to extract as many rewarding and prolonged experiences as possible from your purchases. There is no worse way to spend money from the perspective of happiness than to buy something that costs time, which is even more precious than money. If you have enough money in your bank account to buy your basic needs – food, shelter, and the like – you will be as happy as you will ever be. Some of the things you buy may bring you short-term happiness, but they will not lead to long-term, lasting happiness. [Sources: 4, 16, 21, 24]
More money equals more happiness seems a reasonable conclusion, but that is not all. While the old adage says money cannot buy happiness, several studies have found that you don’t have to be a billionaire to buy it. For example, research has shown that higher incomes are associated with higher life satisfaction, such as better health, better relationships, and better education.
Happiness is complex
The truth is there are many factors that contribute to a person’s happiness, besides money, and research has shown that social relationships and connections make important contributions to happiness; as well as money.
So next time someone tells you wealth cant buy you happiness tell them that’s only partially true.
Brainwave training in short is a term for any process that helps you improve your brain power. This can be done through games, sounds, meditation etc.
When we talk about brainwaves we’re talking about the different frequencies our brains produce in different states – when we’re relaxed, thinking, concentrating, sleeping etc the stages literally show up in electroencephalogram (EEG) as different waves.
These brainwaves fall into different bands:
Alpha, Delta, Theta, Beta & Gamma. When we’re in each band we’re in different states.
The frequency bands
When we are in a state of clam, rest or just generally awake and not doing anything our brains are emitting Alpha waves. At a range frequency of between 7 and 12 Hz.
Benefits Of Alpha Waves
Better athletic performance
You may experience Alpha waves when falling asleep or trying to go to sleep when your subconscious mind shuts down and you enter the state of subconsciousness.
Alpha brainwave frequencies are found during states of waking life as well as when you are in REM sleep. Alpha brain waves promote deep sleep and can induce dreams.
Conversely this is the state that many of the traditional authors in Law of Attraction books encourage readers to get into when doing their visualisations and manifesting work, which I’ll cover off in another post.
Delta 0-3 Hz
Delta waves are the brainwave frequencies associated with being in a daydreaming state and those self-hypnosis states when you’re almost having an out of body experience. Let me explain, have you ever been driving, and your mind wanders off the task of driving and you’re thinking about what you’re going to eat for dinner, or reminiscing on some event from the past. Then all of sudden you realise you lost yourself for a moment in another world whilst you were driving. That’s your brain in Delta.
Training your brain to reach Delta brainwave frequencies can help you get better sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Other benefits include:
Benefits Of Delta Brainwaves
Releasing anti-aging hormones like DHEA
Stimulating the pituitary gland
Releasing Human Growth Hormone
Repairing skin, bone, joints etc
Just generally healing
Theta 4-7 Hz
Theta waves are the brainwave frequency associated with deep sleep and being in a dream state. These waves help you focus and concentrate better.
Theta waves can be difficult to reach because they require a complete break from conscious reality. They can also be brought on by doing things repeatedly, where our brain isn’t really needed so it switches off and you wonder off into another world
If you want to do better at work or in your business one of the best trainings you can do is Theta training as it helps us to focus, retain memory and regulate emotion.
Benefits Of Theta Brainwaves
Reduced mental fatigue
Beta 12-30 Hz
Beta waves are associated with being awake and alert, it’s the brainwave responsible for the fight or flight response.
Beta waves help you to think quickly and accurately.
Benefits Of Beta Waves
Improved critical thinking
Beta waves help you focus and observe details better. If you’re in a stressful situation, your brainwaves will shift to Beta waves and help you cope with the situation better.
If you wanted to move from Beta to Alpha brainwave frequencies you would need to let go of stress by doing some form of exercise or mediation.
Gamma 30-50 Hz or higher
Gamma waves are the brainwave frequencies that occur when taking a nap. Gamma waves help you focus by reducing external distractions. It has been shown that gamma waves are typically present during the process of awakening as well as during active rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Benefits of Gamma Brainwaves
Better emotional intelligence
Better self control
Increased feelings of happiness
Increased overall awareness
Increased levels of intelligence
So we can see the various brainwave stages and their benefits. But how exactly do you go about training them, and which should you focus on?
There are a few ways we can train our brain. We can train our brains through simple breathing exercises, and through meditation.
For instance if you’re in a state of stress the ‘physiological sigh technique‘ which I discuss in my post How to transform Fear into Peace and Calm is a useful tool. It’s where you breathe two short breaths through the nose and one slow breathe out of the mouth which can be used to bring calm. Or you can use a simple breathing technique to help slow the lower the heart rate and return to a more calm relaxed state. In time these types of practices can help our brains to manage stressful situations much easier.
Meditation is one of the best ways to get your brain into Gamma waves. Meditation induces synchronisation in the band which helps the brain bind different aspects of perception into a coherent simple concept. Which is perhaps why experienced meditators can get into altered states of consciousness.
But one of the quicker and perhaps easier ways to train the brain is through Brainwave entrainment.
Brainwave entrainment is a technique of brainwave synchronization that helps you achieve the brainwave frequencies needed for optimal brainwave functions. These exercises help to train your brain to improve all types of functionality from falling asleep to better concentration and improve overall cognitive function.
There are lots of different devices that can help you align your brainwaves via a mix of audio and visual stimulation. I have the MindPlace Kasina device which took a bit of time to get used to but after a few goes I found it incredibly powerful tool to use.
Essentially you just plug in, pick what you want to achieve, for example, deep sleep or concentration and then pop on the glasses and press play. The device then plays sounds into your ears and creates a light show that effectively moves your brain into the correct brainwave state.
Where to start
For me I think the most beneficial place to start and possibly one of the easiest is Gamma wave training.
Gamma waves are some of the most fascinating to me. Neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin conducted a research into the brainwaves of 66 year old Tibetan Monk Matthieu Ricard, whose brain produced Gamma waves they have never witnessed before. He claims that this is all down to meditation, and led to neuroscientists calling him the ‘happiest man on earth’.
So if you had to choose one I would focus on Gamma waves.
The brain truly is a complex but fascinating part of the human experience. And as the control centre of our existence we are increasingly becoming aware that true success and happiness in life comes from taking better control of the brain. The benefits of active brain training are far and wide. And within a few simple sessions of brainwave training you’ll reap the rewards and the benefits rapidly.
A study conducted in 2013 examined the possibility of measuring spirituality by self-measurement. The study found a way to measure and visualize what many in the spiritual community have been saying for years; effectively that spirituality can reduce stress and create feelings of connectedness. [Sources: 3, 14]
In summary, the results show that a high level of spirituality or religious beliefs are associated with lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It’s an interesting idea. We aren’t saying you are more religious because you go to church more than anyone else or pray more than your neighbours. And conversely you aren’t ‘more spiritual’ by conducting a gratitude practice or meditating regularly.
But, these actions, help to make you feel more connected and help to improve your overall wellbeing. So yes, you can measure your spirituality or religious connection by how good you feel.
And what a simple concept. Simply by tapping into how good we are feeling, is a sign of how truly connected we are to source, God, the universe whatever you may wish to call it.
When people have health or mental health problems, spirituality and religious practice can be used as a fantastic form of coping. Secondly, it can shape the coping process, i.e. using prayer to overcome the challenges associated with health and psychological problems. [Sources: 6]
Spirituality and religiosity are also components of people’s psychological well-being. By showing that the application of these spiritual principles is both practical and measurable, acceptance and spirituality can be promoted even in their own spiritual development, not only in terms of health, but also in the development of one’s own mental health. [Sources: 5, 6, 13]
The willingness to let go and allow what ever is meant to be, be – is a great way to measure spiritual growth, as well as a measure of one’s own sanity and well-being.
And on the flip side. There is some thing to be said about the coping mechanisms we turn to when something painful or something that causes suffering to occur in our lives.
One of my favorite Tony Robbins quotes is ‘what if this is happening for me and not to me?
That shift from a victim mindset to a more empowered guided mindset has helped me personally transform my own way of thinking.
By turning those thoughts from helplessness into guided action from the lesson you are learning. You take back so much power from whatever those distressing events may be.
Believing that you are guided by a higher power, is incredibly powerful at shifting your mindset and leading to a happier and healthier life.
At this point, it seems to me that the best thing we can do is to describe the different ways in which people experience their spirituality and exercise their spiritual or religious beliefs.
In meditation for example, we experience deep inner peace and harmony, and a feeling of selflessness. That’s a feeling generated by a practice that helps to bring us closer to source.
But constantly meditating, and ignoring the world around you is not a sign of spiritual growth, it’s a sign of neglect.
The drowning man
I love the joke about the drowning man and God.
There was a man living in a house by a river which began to flood. There were warnings to evacuate as the waters were expected to continue to rise. A large car drove past the man’s house and the driver said:
‘You need to evacuate, get in the car and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The car leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man has to go to the second floor of his house as the water rises. Then a boat comes past and the captain says.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the boat and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The boat leaves and the water continues to rise.
The water rises so high, the man has to climb onto the roof of his house. Then a helicopter comes by, drops a rope and the pilot calls out on the tannoy.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the helicopter and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The helicopter pilot reluctantly leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man drowns. And as he goes heaven, he gets to speak to God.
‘What happened? I had faith that you would save me from the flood.’ He says
To which God replies. “What are you talking about? I sent you a car, I sent you a boat and I sent you a helicopter.”
The point of the joke, is that true belief whether that’s religious or spiritual sees God or source in all things good and bad. It is our practice, that helps us to identify these lessons and how to improve from them. This in itself, this constant improvement in ourselves is in fact a measure of spiritual or religious growth.
And living your life with the belief that you are guided, that you are protected. That everything that happens can be a lesson that you grow from, in turn helps you to grow as a person and a soul.
I invite you to share your thoughts on how spirituality can be measured and how we can deepen and strengthen our relationship with source.
Success is a very important part of life, but is there any evidence that happiness is more important than success.
Happiness is such a priceless feeling and there are neuroscientific and psychological studies that show that it leads to better health, better mental health, and greater well-being.
There is also strong evidence that happiness correlates with, and often precedes, career success, and that positive emotions lead to better outcomes in the workplace. And subsequently there is strong evidence that happiness is more than important to success. Sources: 15, 16, 20
The biggest correlation between business success and happiness is that money can’t buy happiness. If you build your business focusing on the things that make you happy, then you inevitably become successful. But that’s something many people struggle to believe in. Why? Often because as entrepreneurs we are often in the thick our work and oftentimes not able to see the wood for the trees.
In these situations, it’s always best to take a step back and have someone else take a look at what it is you need to be doing with your business to create the balance between doing something that brings happiness and success.
If you work hard, you will become successful. But will that be enough to make you happy?
The pursuit of happiness may be a daily task, but if we celebrate our small wins each day then the happiness seems to grow naturally.
In other words, happiness is crucial to a healthy and successful life.
But what’s important here is to understand what happiness is to you. To do this one process is to write down your own definitions of what happiness and success mean to you. That level of clarity gained from this exercise can help you identify true happiness and success. As an example, if you say that success is completing your tasks for the day then you’re more likely to be successful each day as opposed to not being clear and having some vague idea that success is related to the dollar amount in your bank account!
If you want more happiness and success in your life, it really helps to surround yourself with people who are happy and successful. Building strong relationships gives you the opportunity to find a higher level of success and happiness in life.
You will feel happier and prove that happiness is not something you have to wait for before you succeed, but that you can feel happy now by proving it to yourself. And seeing others happy and successful does something wonderful to the brain, it gives you the desire to achieve the same.
When you look at happy people, they will tell you how easy it is, that you don’t need anything to actually get happiness from it.
The field of positive psychology contains a lot of research into how our behaviour affects our happiness and how it affects success and happiness and is definitely worth checking out.
One interesting point to note is that after reviewing 225 studies, it has even been shown in some cases that success does not produce happiness in the way we might think, and that it is indeed happiness that leads to success.
Success is like a vision and without happiness there is no sense of purpose in it. It is important to remember that happiness is the most important thing in this equation, because that is what our ultimate vision is about.
So today we are focusing on the outside world again. And it’s all about awareness today. Take some time out to go nature spotting. Which might sound really odd if you’re nowhere near nature, but you can actually find all sorts of wonders of the natural world even in the city.
It could be:
Different trees you hadnt noticed before
The way some flowers can break through concrete
Maybe birds nesting in trees
Foxes scooting through the streets
Honey bee looking for a place to create a hive
The possibilities are endless… just take the time to go look and marvel at nature.
The last task for Mindful March: Go nature spotting today, even in a city there is wildlife.