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Can't get through tough times? Focus on 'non material wealth'

world Updated: Aug 10, 2009 16:37 IST
Can't get through tough times? Focus on 'non material wealth'

Focussing on non material wealth rather than financial wealth can help people get through today's tough times, according to two of the world's leading psychological experts on happiness.

More money makes people feel better about their lives, but it won't necessarily improve their quality of life, they said.

Ed Diener of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UI-UC) and Robert Biswas-Diener of the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology in Milwaukee conducted the study.

"People should avoid the trap of over-emphasising financial matters and consider a complete portfolio of resources. This will help them cope when hard times are imminent," said Diener.

Diener also referred to a recent poll conducted by the Gallup Organisation that surveyed more than 1,36,000 people in 132 countries from 2005 to 2006.

The poll looked at several economic factors, such as income and the wealth of the respondents' countries, in connection with each person's psychological needs, such as respect, happiness, personal life evaluation and support from family and friends.

The average person in the survey was relatively happy and satisfied with his or her life. But a larger income was more directly related to a stronger sense of happiness than with any other factor.

Overall, people who said they had a great life reported higher income, but that larger salary did not mean they felt happier on a day-to-day basis.

These findings were presented at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on Saturday.