A new study has found that the pursuit of fame, fortune, and beauty makes people less happy. One hundred and fifty graduates from the University of Rochester and Knox College in Illinois were followed for two years, and over that time, researchers assessed the graduates’ satisfaction with life, relationships, and self-esteem. Participants also evaluated their anxiety and stress levels, as well as, their physical ailments such as headaches. The researchers found that fame- and money-hungry graduates who had achieved their goals were the most dissatisfied and anxious. In contrast, participants who had a stronger sense of community and had developed fulfilling relationships felt less stress and were more confident. [am New York]
Obviously there’s weight to the old adage “money can’t buy happiness.” But it only applies for some. Those that are in a constant pursuit for more fame, more money, more glamour will never be fulfilled. “It’s very easy to fall … onto this treadmill of looking for more and more,” said Edward Deci, a Rochester psychology professor who co-authored the study. But I think those who are content, for the time being, with their expendable income can be totally happy. I’m much happier when I have a job and can make frivolous Gilt Groupe purchases. And when I was going through my breakup, popping the tags on something new was all I had to look forward to some days. And having money also makes it possible to strengthen your friendships because you can talk on the phone without depleting your monthly minutes and can go out to meet old and new friends. I’ll probably get some flack for saying this during an economic recession, but purchasing things like red lipstick or indulging your little desires is what has made this recession bearable — so long as you don’t go into debt.