According to a new research, a person's overall happiness is not based on his bank balance but on the degree of respect and admiration he commands in his immediate circle and society.
Psychological scientist Cameron Anderson who works at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues explored the link between different types of societal status and a person's well-being.
"We got interested in this idea because there is abundant evidence that higher socio-economic status -- higher income or wealth, higher education -- does not boost subjective well-being (or happiness) much at all. Yet at the same time, many theories suggest that higher status should boost happiness," reports Anderson in the journal Psychological Science.
Anderson and his colleagues have stated that respect and admiration in one's immediate group, such as friend network, neighborhood or one's athletic team can make all the difference, and usher in overall happiness.
AdvertisementThe researchers believe that having a high standing in one's local ladder can make one more influential, generate more respect, and allows better integration into the social fabric.
A series of four studies were carried out by Anderson and his colleagues to confirm their hypothesis.
In the first study, 80 college students who were part of 12 different campus groups were surveyed. Each student's sociometric status was evaluated through peer ratings, self-report, and the number of leadership positions held by the student. The students also answered questions on their gender, ethnicity, household income and social well-being.
In a second study, a larger and more diverse group of participants were studied and it was found that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being was influenced by the feeling of power and social acceptance that they felt in their personal relationships.
And in a third study, Anderson and his colleagues revealed that the relationship between sociometric status and well-being could be evoked and manipulated experimentally.
In the fourth study students in a MBA program were evaluated, and the researchers found that the changes involved in the sociometric status from pre-graduation to post-graduation were linked to the students' social well-being.
These studies revealed that a person's overall happiness was boosted through the amount of respect he received, and that the sociometric status and not the socioeconomic status influenced a person's well being.
Why is it that money cannot buy happiness? It is because people tend to adapt to the new-found money and its related comforts, and gradually, their initial happiness wanes.
Every one seeks happiness but no one has come up with a time-tested formula. It is a well-established fact that those who seek materialistic things tend to be less content than others whose life is built around relationships and people. It is possible to be rich and happy but being rich need not, necessarily, make one happy.
Setting meaningful goals, pursuing a passion, simplifying one's life, limiting one's expectations and focussing on one's health and relationships are very ways to follow in one's pursuit of happiness.
Anderson et al: Psychological Science, June -2012.