Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Money Can Make You Less Happy

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Spirituality, Science, American dream, money, happiness, ScienCentral, American RadioWorks,

American Dream 2Money can’t buy happiness. In fact, it can make you less happy. According to ScienCentral, researchers followed recent college graduates for two years after graduation and found that attaining intrinsic goals, like rewarding relationships and contributing to the community, increased psychological health and well-being. On the other hand, psychology professor Edward Deci said that achieving extrinsic goals, like money and prestige, “actually contributes to their greater ill-being, which is to say more anxiety and depressive symptoms.”

The study’s authors defined extrinsic goals like money and happiness as “American Dream” goals. According to a recent documentary by American RadioWorks, the American dream is often defined as: “you are what you acquire, like a home, a car or two, or a large-screen TV.” It wasn’t always that way, however. The documentary tracks the evolution of the phrase, from its idealistic roots to its more consumerist meaning. Years ago, the American dream was closer to “the chance to better your circumstances no matter what your family name or what your station was.”

Sources: ScienCentral, American RadioWorks