Half of the households with an annual income of 3 million yen are happy.
I'm happy even with an annual household income of 3 million yen. Such a situation emerged in the questionnaire survey (figure) of President's magazine. A total of 54.4% and more than half of the respondents answered that they were "very happy" or "rather happy." Some readers may feel surprised at this result, but it doesn't seem strange at all. Takashi Maeno, a professor at Keio University who specializes in happiness studies, explains, "Annual income is only one of the elements that make up happiness, and it is quite possible if we can enrich the components of happiness other than money."
In fact, a study by Daniel Carneman, an emeritus professor at Princeton University, shows that an annual income of up to 75,000 dollars (less than 8 million yen) increases the sense of happiness in proportion to income, but a sense of happiness even if the income increases further. It's not a simple diagram of how high your income makes people happy. "Of course, it's better to have a certain amount of income, but that's not all. If you have a high annual income but feel unhappy, you may think that there are not enough factors other than money," says Maeno.
So what are the elements that makeup happiness? According to Mr. Maeno, there are two main types of goods: "status goods" and "non-status goods." Status goods are satisfactory compared to those around them, and income, social status, and possessions (such as houses and cars) are typical examples. Non-status goods are obtained without comparison with others, love, human relations, worth living, health, etc. "There is no end to status goods if you look up, and even if you get them once, you are more likely to get bored, so happiness doesn't last. On the other hand, non-status goods have the characteristic that happiness lasts stably. Therefore, it is more likely to be happier to have a lot of non-status goods," says Maeno.
I feel rewarded and happy with my job.
According to the survey results, the percentage of non-status goods such as "health condition" and "enhancement of hobbies" is high as a reason why people with an annual income of 3 million yen feel happy. "There seem to be a lot of people who give 'the content of work', but apart from a large amount of income, the work itself is rewarding, and I think they feel happy there," Maeno says.
If you are unhappy now and are only looking at your income as the reason, I would like you to listen to Mr. Maeno's following advice.
"The shortcut to happiness is to place more importance on non-status goods than on income, which is a status property. The easiest way to do this is to "appreciate". Express your feelings of "thank you" and tell the other person. This is free and can be done right away. First of all, thank your close partners, family and friends. Gratitude calms my heart and makes me happy. As a result, relationships with people around you will also be better. The object of gratitude is infinite, and it does not have to be a family member or an acquaintance. If you are in the new Corona disaster, why don't you thank the medical professionals and the supermarket clerks?"
He also said that it is important to be optimistic about everything and to take a positive attitude. "It's true that there is a risk of declining income and losing jobs, but if you become optimistic, you will be able to be creative and come up with good ideas that will break through the status quo," Maeno says. In addition, it is said that the enhancement of the hobby is also good. There are many hobbies that don't cost money, such as reading, walking and jogging, and light exercise is good for your health and leads to a sense of happiness.
"At the end of the day, balance is important. While keeping the minimum amount of money necessary for daily life, I try to acquire various elements of happiness such as gratitude, human relations, satisfaction, hobbies, health, etc. If we do so, even in difficult times with high uncertainty, happiness will be unwavering."