Money Can't Buy Happiness, New Study Shows

It seems like money does not really make the world go round.  A recent study highlights the importance of relationships and sound mental health in making people happy.

The study conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) gathered findings from several international surveys focused on causes of happiness and unhappiness.  The study involved 200,000 people and how different factors impacted their wellbeing.

Doubling Someone's Pay Increases Happiness Only Very Minimally

The research shows that elimination of depression and other mental illness reduced unhappiness by 20 percent, while increase in financial wealth only had a 5 percent impact.  Unemployment, depression and anxiety are the major cause of unhappiness in most people.

Co-author of the study, Prof Richard Layard, told BBC:  "The evidence shows that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships and our mental and physical health."

"In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage," Layard added.

The Study 'Revolutionizes How We Think About Human Priorities'

According to the research team, the study "revolutionises how we think about human priorities" and promote using the "burgeoning new science of 'subjective wellbeing'" as a measure of successful governance, instead of the economy.  The team also noted the mental illness was an enormous factor in unhappiness and that this issue should be addressed by policymakers. 

The role of the state in the well-being of its people has recently been shifted, the study notes.  Although steps have been taken to address poverty, unemployment, education, and physical health, governments should not forget that domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety are equally important factors in the overall well-being of citizens. 

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