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  • [Will winning the lottery make you happier?]

  • Imagine winning a multi-million dollar lottery tomorrow.

  • If you're like many of us, you'd be ecstatic, unable to believe your good luck.

  • But would that joy still be there a few years later?

  • Maybe not.

  • A famous study of 22 lottery winners showed that months after winning, their average reported levels of happiness had increased no more than that of a control group who hadn't won the lottery.

  • Some were actually unhappier than they had been before winning.

  • And later studies have confirmed that our emotional well-beinghow often and how intensely we feel things like joy, sorrow, anxiety, or anger

  • don't seem to improve with wealth or status beyond a certain point.

  • This has to do with a phenomenon known as hedonic adaptation, or the hedonic treadmill.

  • It describes our tendency to adapt to new situations to maintain a stable emotional equilibrium.

  • When it comes to feeling happy, most of us seem to have a base level that stays more or less constant throughout our existence.

  • Of course, the novelty of better food, superior vacations, and more beautiful homes can at first make you feel like you're walking on air,

  • but as you get used to those things, you revert to your default emotional state.

  • That might sound pretty gloomy, but hedonic adaptation makes us less emotionally sensitive to any kind of change, including negative ones.

  • The study with the lottery winners also looked at people who had suffered an accident that left them paralyzed.

  • When asked several months after their accidents how happy they were, they reported levels of happiness approaching their original baseline.

  • So while the hedonic treadmill may inhibit our enjoyment of positive changes,

  • it seems to also enable our resilience in recovering from adversity.

  • There are other reasons that winning the lottery may not make us happier in the long run.

  • It can be difficult to manage large sums of money, and some lottery winners wind up spending or losing it all quickly.

  • It can also be socially isolating.

  • Some winners experience a deluge of unwelcome requests for money, so they wind up cutting themselves off from others.

  • And wealth may actually make us meaner.

  • In one study, participants played a rigged game of monopoly where the experimenters made some players rich quickly.

  • The wealthy players started patronizing the poorer players and hogging the snacks they were meant to share.

  • But just because a huge influx of cash isn't guaranteed to bring joy into your life doesn't mean that money can never make us happier.

  • Findings show that we adapt to extrinsic and material things, like a new car or a bigger house, much faster than we do to novel experiences, like visiting a new place or learning a new skill.

  • So by that reasoning, the more you spend money on experiences rather than things, the happier you'd be.

  • And there's another way to turn your money into happiness: Spend it on other people.

  • In one study, participants were given some money and were either asked to spend it on themselves or on someone else.

  • Later that evening, researchers called up these participants and asked them how happy they were.

  • The happiness levels of those who had spent the money on others were significantly greater than that of those who had spent it on themselves.

  • And that seems to be true around the world.

  • Another study examined the generosity of over 200,000 people from 136 countries.

  • In over 90% of these countries, people who donated tended to be happier than those who didn't.

  • But this all may be easier said than done.

  • Let's say a million dollars falls into your lap tomorrow.

  • What do you do with it?

[Will winning the lottery make you happier?]

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B1 US TED-Ed lottery happier winning happiness study

【TED-Ed】Would winning the lottery make you happier? - Raj Raghunathan

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    黃如育 posted on 2020/12/12
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