Most of us dream of winning a jackpot.
That shiny new car, a huge mansion with a swimming pool, luxury holidays and simply never having to worry about money again.
But according to a Harvard professor, winning a jackpot won’t actually make you happy.
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine, claims research shows a Sh2 billion ($20million) jackpot won’t give you the life you dreamt of, saying that most winners go back to their original level of happiness in just a year.
However he claims there are four things in life that will make you happy in the long term, and the odds are much better.
Speaking during a talk earlier this year, he said: “Winning a Sh2 billion jackpot won’t make you happier. Research has shown that after one year, winners go back to their baseline. Some are even less happy.
“A few probably spent their money on a big mansion or a fancy car. Maybe they spent it all on gambling. But even so, at the end of three months, it’s just a house, it’s just a nice car. You get used to it.”
He then listed the four things which he says can make a difference.
Sanjiv claims that the ability to forgive frees you from burdens of hate and other unhealthy emotions. He says these can have a big negative impact on your happiness.
There is also research which suggests letting go of negative feelings can lower the risk of heart attack and help anxiety and depression.
He believes that getting involved in charities and donating money to good causes is one of the most fulfilling things people can do, and it can therefore improve happiness.
During the talk, Sanjiv said: “There’s a wonderful anonymous quote that goes, ‘If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness’.
“Taking time to think about what you’re grateful for makes you more aware of the positive things in your life.”
He claims this will “make you less biased by the fewer negative things in your life”.
Family and friends
Sanjiv believes that our friends and family are the key to our happiness.
He says: “Choose your friends wisely and celebrate everything small and good with them.”