Contemporary Western society is driven by the pursuit of happiness as the prize of a good life. However, the mass media tries to sell us on consumerism as the source of happy people. I think we all can agree that money is required and helpful in creating a comfortable life. But the billionaire is not a billion times happier than the average person.
Temptation is everywhere as we navigate life in constant pursuit of more happiness. Our world is like a massive wall of neon signs vying for our attention to sell us something. We see all these messages that shout out: buy me; you must have me; I’m the answer… to your happiness.
Do material things enhance your overall well-being and boost your way in the pursuit of happiness?
By design, we’re curious pleasure-seekers always desiring the next cool thing. Shiny trinkets for our wrists and fingers; fun toys that will let us feel like we’re moving as fast as lightning; and let’s not forget the gizmos, gadgets, and adventures that everyone’s having.
Naturally, we’re drawn to these things, but do we ever stop and consider if we can really afford the buy-in to have them? A lot of times, we don’t.
“Stuff” has a price, and not just dollars and credit card bills. It can also cost us emotional currency, because we may start to see what we own as more valuable than the people in our lives.
This is where we become vulnerable to losing our happiness.
It’s time to slow down those constant desires to buy “things” and start to invest in ourselves and our relationships. There are a million things to experience in this world, and they don’t have to clutter your closet, occupy your garage, or be stacked up on your end table with a ring of dust around them.
Still not convinced?
Here are 3 reasons why less can help you in the pursuit of happiness:
Stress negatively impacts our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Learning to better manage stress and eliminate unnecessary stressors are helpful to improving well-being and boosting happiness.
Few things can zap joy as quickly or impactfully as financial stress. Financial woes are a serious problem for many people and the cause of significant personal stress.
Does retail therapy contribute to or detract from the pursuit of happiness? By understanding that sustainable happiness is not attached to buying “stuff,” we can consciously decide if something is worth buying. And what, if any, are the long-term risks and rewards to our spending?
Less stress promises the bonus of better emotion regulation including improved mood and outlook. This helps improve lifestyle and health outcomes.
Most of us own more stuff than we use. Cars and homes require maintenance, and there are costs associated with them that go beyond ownership like taxes and insurance. Even small trinkets, gadgets, and appliances take up space and can drive a person to distraction.
Have you ever gone into your closet and stared at all the stacks of stuff in there, hoping to easily find one small thing you need? This can be dizzying and a time drain as well. If this sounds familiar, consider decluttering and down-sizing your belongings.
Remember, self-reporting happy people gravitate towards creating and enjoying positive experiences, not acquiring objects.
Next time you’re going to buy something “just because,” stop and think about it from a happiness perspective. How will it add to your life?
Lightening our load benefits our health and happiness by making us feel more relaxed and in control of our lives by making space in our minds.
The gifts of consciously deciding to live with less are numerous.
If you still are hesitant about parting ways with stuff, take a moment to think about children. They are a great example of how stuff isn’t necessarily exciting. They are at their best when they are using their imagination to create their realities. If they want to be a pirate, a stick in the yard is every bit as suitable as a fancy, flashing pirate sword from a store. This type of simplicity is quite beautiful, and it’s meant for adults to enjoy, as well.
Happy people live with less stress and knowledge that a “less is more” approach to the pursuit of happiness helps re-prioritize the world through a lens of appreciation for what is good, joyful, and sustainable.
Learn more about the benefits of declutter with this episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio:
Lisa Cypers Kamen is a lifestyle management consultant who explores the art and science of happiness in her work as a speaker, author, and happiness expert. Through her globally syndicated positive psychology podcast, books, media appearances, and documentary film, Kamen has impacted millions of people around the world.
Our communications do not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship.
Individuals seeking help for trauma related issues or other psychological concerns should seek out a mental health professional.
© 2010-2023 Harvesting Happiness
Website Design by Nadia Mousa