Want happiness? Forget money - get therapy instead


If money doesn't bring happiness, why do we devote so much of our energy chasing it? Perhaps the old adage is flawed, but not according to a study recently completed at the Universities of Warwick and Manchester, UK, which found that psychological therapy is 32 times more likely than money to bring you happiness.

The study compared the change in happiness of people who had gone through therapy to those who had received a windfall of money, such as lottery winnings. The results showed that people would have to receive over £25,000 ($40,000) in cash to bring as much happiness as they could get from four months of counseling, the cost of which was estimated at £800 ($1,320).

The results don't surprise me, given the sad tales of what happens to many lottery winners. What did surprise me, though, was another conclusion the study's authors, Chris Boyce and Alex Wood, drew from the results. Instead of giving big cash awards for pain and suffering to plaintiffs in civil suits, they speculated that courts might do more good by awarding the plaintiffs some couch time with a psychologist.

The idea surely won't please attorneys who specialize in injury suits. They, I suspect, still believe that more money brings more happiness.