I saw this article in Science Daily that makes some shocking claims
If you think having loads of money, fetching looks, or the admiration of many will improve your life — think again. A new study by three University of Rochester researchers demonstrates that progress on these fronts can actually make a person less happy.This is "striking and paradoxical" (at least according to the article). It continues
The findings in this study support Self-Determination Theory... The theory holds that well-being depends in large part on meeting one's basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.Very nice and scientific, but although the authors cite how previous researchers overlooked things, it sounds like they do too, unless "relatedness" includes service to God and to others. According to this much less scientific survey clergy are the happiest people followed by firefighters (who are mostly Catholic, as we all know).
Which leads to an even less scientific theory I call "conservation of compensation". Ever wonder why lawyers get paid so much? Because (almost) everybody hates them! If it were a respectable job (like teacher or firefighter) they'd be happy to take the job even if it didn't pay well. I propose that this law is universal, except for doctors. I'm still trying to figure them out.