How Much Happier Would You Be If You Had Won the Lottery?


While some people buy lottery tickets expecting to win, many people do it for their dreams. They imagine what they would buy and how much better their life would be if they won. They might dream about buying a yacht in the Bahamas, or using private jets from Jettly to fly to the Seychelles and Dubai. Or maybe their ultimate goal is to live in a penthouse in New York or a palace in France. Then the balls drop and you lose and go back to your regular old life, or even consider reading this article to look into other moneymaking options. But how much happier would you really be?

We have all had money worries at some point. However, although winning the lottery is one way to pay off your debts and improve your personal finances, not everyone is lucky enough to secure those winning numbers. That’s why some visit to gamble because they often have more chances of winning with casino games than the lottery. With this in mind, it is important to remember that if money troubles are taking a toll on your life, doing some research into the different debt relief options might prove to be advantageous.

Above all, getting your debts in order can help you to gain more control over your life so that you can reduce your spending and live a more frugal lifestyle. Tempted to learn more about tackling your debts? For debt relief resources and much more head to:

So, that being said, can winning the lottery really make your dreams come true? Let us find out…

The Study:

A classic study interviewed 29 quadriplegic and paraplegic accident victims, 22 major lottery winners and 22 controls to determine their happiness before the unexpected event, current levels and their expected future happiness. The participants’ ability to derive pleasure from mundane events was also questioned. The researchers found that the lottery winners did not see themselves as significantly happier than the control group in the past, present or future. The lottery winners did experience significantly less pleasure from mundane events than controls though. On the flip side, accident victims romanticized their past as being significantly happier than controls, while they viewed their current situation as significantly less happy.

happiness habituation

How can the lottery winners not be significantly happier than controls? The researchers believed that the results were due to two phenomenon. First, the thrill of winning the lottery make mundane pleasurable events seem less pleasurable in contrast.

The second limit to good fortune is habituation. Eventually, the thrill of winning the lottery will itself wear off. If all things are judged by the extent to which they depart from a baseline of past experience, gradually even the most positive events will cease to have impact as they themselves are absorbed into the new baseline against which further events are judged. Thus, as lottery winners become accustomed to the additional pleasures made possible by their new wealth, these pleasures should be experienced as less intense and should no longer contribute very much to their general level of happiness. In sum, the effects of an extreme stroke of good fortune should be weakened in the short run by a contrast effect that lessens the pleasure found in mundane events and in the long run by a process of habituation -that erodes the impact of the good fortune itself.


So, don’t fret if you didn’t win the lottery. You probably wouldn’t have been nearly as happy in the long-term as you had imagined. But, here’s a summary of research-backed ways to make you happier that don’t require one in 292 million odds.


Brickman, Philip, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman. “Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?.” Journal of personality and social psychology 36.8 (1978): 917.