"All of this research points to a paradox of happiness: It’s not tied to abundance but to recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Once we meet our basic needs, our lives become more satisfying if we can savor and be grateful for the good that’s already around us, before we strive for more."
Relentless consumption and desire for more makes for unhappy people, while moderation and occasional limits have the opposite effect.
Indeed, so much of our everyday behavior is driven by the misconception that more is better. We celebrate our most important holidays by cooking twice as much food as we need, then scarfing it down. We work hard to get a promotion—then after getting it, start thinking about how to get the next one. We stay up all night tearing through “House of Cards” or the latest season of “Mad Men.”
What’s more, this same misconception about happiness leads many people to covet wealth and material things. Research suggests that more money can bring us more happiness, but only until we earn up to about $75,000/year. After that, there seems to be a negligible increase in happiness from making more money, meaning that many of us waste a lot of time pursuing a happiness we’ll never reach. Or worse, our single-minded pursuit of wealth stresses us out,compromises our values, and strains our relationships—without bringing that elusive boost in happiness.