- Buying time. This raises the question: If more money won't make us much happier, what will? Here are four pointers. Keep your commute short. Tempted to use your latest pay raise to buy a big house in a distant suburb? Don't do it. While we often adjust amazingly well to life's hardships, commuting is an exception. "You can't adapt to commuting, because it's entirely unpredictable," says Daniel Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness" and a psychology professor at Harvard University. "Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day."