A hedonist is a person who seeks pleasure. The paradox is that a person who is looking for happiness for himself, will not find it. Happiness is not something that is found, like a treasure chest. Happiness is a boomerang that when given, is returned.
Whenever I would have a bad day, my dad would advise me to help someone else. His thought was that getting out in the world and seeing the troubles others have to overcome would help shift my perspective of what “bad” actually meant. Also, so many of my bad days consisted of purely self-interested reasons. If I could get outside of myself, I would see the bigger picture, and that would change my attitude. My dad’s theory has been tested by psychologists, who have found that volunteering attributes to mental and physical health. James Konow and Joseph Earley in “The hedonistic paradox: Is Homo Economicus happier?” confirmed through research that yes indeed, the person who only pursues happiness for himself will not find it, but the person who helps others, shall.
Don’t wait until all of your needs are met to help to others. Help others now so that your needs can be met and true happiness can be yours.
Giving is the same. You would think that the wealthier a person is, the more that person would give. But, in fact the correlation works in the opposite direction. Arthur Brooks in “Does giving make us prosperous?” Journal of Public Economics further found that giving also leads to positive economic outcomes. The more a person gives, the wealthier she becomes. In the same way, you would think that the wealthiest countries would give the most aid, but in fact the correlation is that countries that rank higher on the happiness scale, not on the GNP scale, give more. Australia is number 1 according to the The World Giving Index Final Report.
It all boils down to this. Giving people are happy and happy people give.