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Why so many successful and wealthy people still feel unhappy?

Why so many successful and wealthy people still feel unhappy? 

By Catherine Chan

Have you ever wondered why some extremely successful individuals still feel unhappy even when they have wealth and everything they want in life?

In fact, happiness is related to biological processes in our bodies.  According to Professor LorettaGraziano, Dopamine and Serotonin are the happy chemicals in our bodies that give us a feeling of happiness. These neurotransmitters are not meant to always make us feel good, but rather to basically help us survive. Naturally, they work by turning on and off at different times.  The logic is that there is usually an increase in the serotonin level of successful people when they first gain social dominance and power, giving them a feeling of empowerment.  This feeling however doesn’t last long, since the human brain doesn’t allow these hormones to be released all the time as well as in excessive amounts.  Too much of these would deplete our energy.  Once a person is used to the status of power and wealth it will no longer trigger the same amount of serotonin as before. As a result, a let-down feeling is created replacing the joyous feeling.

Dopamine behaves the same way as serotonin. It spikes when people are filled with excitement about achieving their goals or close to a win. This triggers good feelings, motivates us to pursue more success.  However, after attaining our goals, our dopamine sags and returns to normal taking away the good feelings, which can make a person feel really bad. 

It is quite possible that high achievers are constantly stimulating these happy chemicals more than the average individuals.  This situation puts them in a trap of falling victim to this cycle.  As health columnist Therese Borchard wrote in an article, some biochemical factors were suggested to be associated with high achievers.  Although work and success cause a sharp increase in dopamine and serotonin, this doesn’t last long. One begins to feel a sudden sense of loss when the amount of these happy chemicals starts dropping.  To some extent, this explains why some wealthy individuals are battling with depression.

ManfredKetsde Vries is a therapist who told The Telegraph that the individual goes into a kind of inertia when money is available in an almost limitless quantity, as he feels that there is nothing more life can offer to him.  Life seemingly stops to move forward.  As wealth coach SusanBradley   says there is usually a constant rise in momentum prior to the period when businesspeople make huge profits. Then, there comes a sudden drop of morale after they make big cash outs, leaving them with a paralyzing feeling as all the champagne is gone.

In order to restore that happiness they once felt, they begin to search for more ‘feelings of high’. Forbes Contributor, Alice Walton, stated in an article that substance and alcohol abuse is prevalent among well-educated and high-functioning CEOs. In most cases, it is prescription Medication and alcohol addiction. According to David Linden, a neuroscience professor at John Hopkins’ School of Medicine, explained that the brains of high powered people are more prone to addiction.   It is quite possible that they are somewhat addicted to

‘feelings of high’  generated by happy hormones of the brain.  Alcohol and drugs  helps to stimulate their production of serotonin and dopamine temporarily. Continuous use causes them to become addicted.  In the long run, this worsens the vicious cycle and causes more depression. 

It’s true that our personalities and attitude on how to deal with such circumstances play an important role in our happiness.  As humans, we should learn to handle these ups and downs, accept our natural body processes and appreciate the on-and-off state of our happy hormones. 

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Joined: February 20th, 2018
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