Our Team
Our Services
Happiness & Wellbeing
Contact Us
Happiness and Wellbeing

Financial planning can make us happier, not just wealthier. There are many theories as to what makes us happy. Here are four theories, do you recognise yourself and your own bad habits? A key to the good life is to ‘Know Thyself'

Four theories of happiness and wellbeing
Set point theory
The first theory says we have a set level of happiness. Events might move us away from this set point, but we always return to this default position. Some people just seem naturally cheerful, whereas others always see things in the negative.

The set point will have been created by our past experiences, things that have happened to us throughout life. There is much debate among psychologists about whether it can be changed in adult life.

One view is that although we can we become set in our ways we will continue to oscillate around a given level of happiness. If, however, some new information comes in, or perhaps some extreme event occurs, then we can change our set point.
Comparison theory
Theodore Roosevelt said that "comparison is the thief of joy". Comparison theory states that happiness comes from our assessment of our perceived gap between the reality of our lives and common standards (keeping up with the Joneses). But who determines these standards? Well, society does, to a point - but so does the media.

Advertising, for example, specifically tries to show us how much cooler we might be if we bought the product - you know, the one everyone is talking about? The bestselling one, the one that is endorsed by that cool celebrity? This messaging attempts to place that product as being the one that is the common standard for happiness, and therefore the one that will make us happy.

That does not mean comparison theory is necessarily bad - you can actually make it work for you. Comparing upwards makes us unhappy but comparing downwards, however, can make us realise how lucky we are.
Need theory
Happiness comes from whether certain needs are being gratified. Need theory suggests that the ability to be happy is within us. However, we are unable to experience happiness until certain other basic requirements have been met, and in a particular order.

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we first have our basic needs of food and shelter; then we need to feel safe, for example to be healthy, or perhaps to have a decent job. Then we need to belong, be part of a family and/or community. Then we need self-esteem, perhaps a sense of purpose. It is at this level, it is felt, that happiness is able to flourish.
Intrinsic value
A professor of psychology from America called Tim Kasser, interviewed in New Philosophy magazine, talks about doing something, or owning something for its ‘intrinsic value'.

This is measured by how much one enjoys doing and completing a task, for its own sake and not for reward. Tim's research says that it is achieving intrinsic values that brings happiness. Doing things because you enjoy them, not for the financial or material reward. Prof Kasser's research suggests prioritising intrinsic values rather than materialistic goals has a far greater affect wellbeing. However, it is a bit more subtle still. It seems that if we aim for intrinsic values - aiming to do the things which bring us fulfilment - then failing to make sufficient progress to such objectives will actually make us less happy. On the other hand, achieving materialistic goals - or not - has very little effect on our wellbeing.

In order to maximise wellbeing, we should put as little importance as possible on material values, and focus instead on intrinsic values.
Home Happiness & Wellbeing Our Team Our Services Contact Us
Copyright 2008 @ Wealth Management & Growth Designed By AMPG IT Services Limited