“I pulled my first million. [But] it still wasn’t enough to satisfy me.” 

p. 51, From Doctor to Patient

We’ve all heard the saying, “money can’t buy happiness.” But if you’re anything like me, you may have dismissed the adage as some feel-good nonsense. Besides, do you remember the feeling of holding your first paycheck? Purchasing a new home? Driving a new car? It feels good… at least momentarily.

But that’s the catch. Unless you’re living paycheck to paycheck, in survival mode, money brings only a fleeting sense of happiness. You always want more. More money, more things, more status. 

But more isn’t always better. It turns out there’s some truth to that old saying after all. Up to a certain point, money can give you security, allowing you to live comfortably and without financial worry. After you reach this threshold (typically around $50-$75k annual income), the effect tapers off. If you have *enough* money, then, you’re better off investing your time and efforts in real happiness-seeking endeavors.  

So, without further ado, here’s our Happiness To-Do List for those who have reached that comfortability threshold. Resist the urge to work over-time or take on another work project or challenge, and try these things with your time instead.

 The Happiness To-Do List

  1. Spend more time with friends and family. Schedule lunch or coffee with a friend at least once a week. If you want to get an extra boost of serotonin, offer to pay for their meal!
  2. Practice mindfulness. Start out with just 5-10 minutes a day. Download an app such as Headspace, and let the speaker guide you through one mindfulness session per day.
  3. Get outside. You don’t have to go far to enjoy nature. Find a local park and go for a walk or have a picnic. Other outdoorsy options include camping, kayaking, hiking, swimming, biking, fishing, and golfing.
  4. Set a (realistic) health goal. Schedule and train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon. Choose a distance that is challenging based on your current fitness level, but also achievable.
  5. Donate. Pick a cause you believe in and set a monthly donation amount. If time permits, consider volunteering your time, as well!
  6. Express your creativity. It’s not just painting that bring out your creative side (although it can!). Take on a new DIY, try out photography, sign up for a baking class, Zumba at your local gym, learn how to play an instrument … there’s endless ways to get creative!
  7. Spend money on experiences. Instead of buying the next new iPhone, book your next vacation! Research shows that those who spend money on experiences, rather than things, are happier.
  8. Read – but NOT for work. Pick a genre that is completely unrelated to your work – maybe a romance, thriller, or fantasy novel. If novels aren’t your thing, pick up a magazine next time you check out at the grocery store. Extra points if you’re reading on the beach. 

In his new book, author Dr. Nagula talks about how he was “wealthy in money” but “poor in connection” before being diagnosed with cancer. Read about his journey to healing the mind, body and spirit in “From Doctor to Patient” here: https://www.amazon.com/Doctor-Patient-Healing-Cancer-through-ebook/dp/B081PG4P87