Dr. B's Blog

Stimulating Happiness

Paul Krugman, a nobel laureate, knows what he’s talking about when it comes to economic theory. There’s very little doubt that he’s a well-respected expert on economics and has a very specific stance with respect to government’s role in the economy. He recently discussed the impact of jobs on happiness:

So are Americans happier? Of course not — in 1999 or 2000 everyone could easily find a job, right now everyone — even the highly educated — faces the prospect of very long-term unemployment if anything goes wrong.

He makes an accurate connection between employment status and jobs and discounts the importance of income as a factor in happiness. On the surface, we may believe that mo’ money, mo’ happiness, but we know that’s not true.

Mo’ money, Mo’ problems

I wish he had backed up his assertion that people are unhappier now than they were during the end of the last decade. Our general sense is that there is some emotional malaise throughout the country, if not the world, but I’ve not seen any specific data to support that assumption. Be that as it may, working is clearly important to one’s well-being. But you don’t need to get paid to get the benefit. If you’re having trouble finding a job or meaning in your work, think about volunteering. Volunteer Match is a fantastic resource for volunteer opportunities. Type in your zip code and it’ll give you a number of options.