WASHINGTON – In the digital age of psychological research, data analysis, economic studies and polls, measuring happiness is not so simple.
Psychologists might measure the evaluative aspect of happiness, whether you are “satisfied with your life” or “progressing towards your life goals.” Or they can measure the other half of happiness, the affective, whether you experience joy or tranquility, according to the Wall Street Journal.
How individuals value experiences, like travel or concerts versus material possessions like a car or big screen TV, is another measure of happiness. Studies show experiences hold their value far longer than the value or usefulness of possessions – i.e. memories of that trip to the Grand Canyon versus the Polaroid camera you took with you. Or maybe that hour-long commute to Germantown negates the benefits of a nice house in the suburbs.
And polls find that people around the world, from countries rich and poor, enjoy giving money to charity over spending it on themselves.
So how do you measure happiness? Can money buy you happiness? And if it can, what do you spend it on to make you happy?