Happiness Comes Cheap

The Best Things in Life Really are Free

It turns out that the road to happiness isn’t paved by a lottery jackpot, flashy sports car or lucrative promotion, according to a new study published by the University of Nottingham. On the contrary, researchers say that it’s the simple pleasures in life that have the most impact on one’s sense of well-being. Pure happiness might entail, for example, enjoying a chocolate truffle, afternoon snooze or leisurely bubble bath.

Using a Satisfaction with Life Scale developed by the University of Illinois, the study compared happiness levels of lottery jackpot winners with a control group. Respondents were asked about different elements of happiness in their life and their moods, as well as how often they treated themselves and in what form. The surprising findings revealed that it wasn’t the sports cars, diamond jewelry or big new house that enriched the winning ticket holder’s happiness quotient. Rather, it was listening to music, reading a book or strolling in a nearby park. In other words, happiness amounts to the simple things in life, most of which are free.

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