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7 Reasons Why Materialistic Stuff Doesn’t Lead To Happiness

7 Reasons Why Materialistic Stuff Doesn’t Lead To Happiness

Feeling down? More stuff isn’t the answer. If you want to be happy, spend on experiences (not things). Below are 7 reasons why materialism won’t lead to happiness.

1. The excitement will wear off.

New stuff provides instant gratification, sure, but life-long happiness? Not so much. Having the latest version of the iPhone might be nice while it lasts, but you can rest assured an even newer (and better!) one will follow. There is always going to be a better version of everything you own, so let go of your need to have the latest-and-greatest thing and be happy with what you have.

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2. It is a distraction from what really matters.

The pursuit of stuff is a distraction from the important thing: the pursuit of your goals. It can be hard to stay interested in your goals when success requires patience (the opposite of the instant gratification materialism provides). But don’t you think achieving a goal meaningful to you will make you happier than a bunch of stuff that leaves you feeling empty before you know it?

3. The more you have, the more you crave.

Have you ever noticed how kids can rip open a present, give it a momentary glance, and then throw it aside without second thought before moving on to the next gift? This behavior illustrates what happens if you become addicted to the instant gratification that comes with material things. No matter how much you have, it never feels like enough. This is because you’re trying to fill an emotional void with a tangible thing.

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4. You couldn’t possibly use all of your stuff.

What good is a bunch of stuff if you don’t actually use all of it? Those movies you don’t watch, books you don’t read, and clothes you don’t wear could be gifted to a friend, sold to a thrift store, or donated to a charity. If you’re not using it, you might as well make some money (or make someone’s day) out of it.

5. Less stuff = Less clutter = Less stress

A house free from clutter will make you feel happy and organized. This isn’t to say you need to rid yourself of all worldly possessions or anything drastic, but there’s no denying that living in a home that’s a disorganized wreck will stress you out. And let’s face it: you have more than you could ever need. If a thief broke into your house and stole random stuff (exempting obvious and/or expensive things), you probably wouldn’t even notice most of it was gone. Get rid of your unneeded possessions without mercy. For the next few weeks, slowly work through the objects in your house and ask yourself, “Do I have another object that can accomplish the same thing this does, but better?” Answer “yes,” and it goes.

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6. More isn’t always better.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that more isn’t better (it’s worse). How can that be? Wealthy people forget how to savor life’s pleasures. Savoring is the ability to extend a positive emotional experience. A vacation, for example, comes with three phases:

  • Pre-trip excitement (talking to co-workers about how excited you are, looking forward to feeling your toes in the sand)
  • The trip itself
  • Post-trip reminiscing (talking about how much fun you had, making a photo collage and sharing it with friends)

Being able to live an extravagant life seems to make it more difficult to enjoy the small things. Slow down, live in the present, and savor every positive experience for a longer-lasting smile.

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7. Happiness can’t be bought in a store.

Happiness isn’t a tangible thing you can buy in a Black Friday sale. If want to buy something that will lead to happiness, spend on experiences (not things). The joy of buying stuff fades over time as you get used to having it (i.e. it’s not “shiny” and “new” anymore). But spending on experiences will help you get closer to the people you care about, and provide you with a positive memory that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 4, 2020

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

Self-improvement doesn’t have to be big mind-blowing changes; it can actually be simple steps to improve upon what you already have to get you where you want to be.  However, what you will need is consistency, determination and wiliness to try some things that will stretch and challenge you.

Rather than setting your sights way off into the future, which leaves you feeling like you’ll never make it, you can start following these simple and effective self-improvement steps today.  So if you want to make an immediate impact on your life and are willing to take action, then keep reading— you’ll going to love these!

1. Be willing to work hard.

As with anything in life, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard to get it.  This doesn’t mean you burn the candle at both ends, leaving you exhausted and leaving your personal life in ruins.  It merely means that when you want something badly enough, you’ll put in the time to get there.  Action is what’s important here and the more ‘inspired’ the action is, the better the results in the end.

2. Make sure you have friends who you can talk to.

Sharing the load is important as with any self-improvement. If you can communicate with others and get feedback on how you are doing then that’s great.  We all need ‘cheerleaders’ in our corner to keep us going when times get hard, but you also need to have people who will tell you how it is even when you don’t want to hear it.  So make sure you have a good support network around you, especially those people whose opinions you respect.

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3. Adapt to your circumstances rather than over-thinking them.

Sometimes, we can hit a hard period. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your partner has left you.  Instead of over analyzing the situation, learn to adapt to your circumstances and accept them as they are.  It’s not about making your circumstances into some kind of a drama; remember, what you focus on expands which means you’ll get more of it.  You then don’t become your problems and you’ll feel a lot less burdened by them.

4. Ensure that you use your time wisely.

Time is of the essence, some might say; whilst others will say that time is an illusion.  One thing we do know is that you have one life on this planet, so how you use that time is of the utmost importance.  So how can you use your time wisely? Only you know how to do that, but look at how you currently spend your days: do you sit working all day, get home, eat and then sit slumped in front of the TV for the rest of the evening?  Your time on this earth is precious, so isn’t it time to make use of the time you have left? Try something new, go for a walk, learn a new language or meditate but make sure it’s something you absolutely love.

5. Always be consistent.

A wonderful way to self-improvement is to make changes to how you do things.  For example, with your friends, are you always the unreliable one who bows out of an arrangement just before it happens? Or are you someone who starts a new exercise routine and then stops doing it 3 weeks into it?  Whatever it is and whatever you do, always be consistent. When you make a commitment, stick to it. It will improve your life immeasurably you’ll feel more confident and happier with yourself, especially because you’ll know that whatever you tackle, you’ll be able to consistently do it!

6. Go and find your happy place.

No, I’m not saying “place” as in popping to your local bar or restaurant and gorging yourself on your favorite drinks or food. What I’m saying is to find out what you love to do, what makes you happy and go there.  Your happy place is a place where you find peace, where you lose yourself and feel contented.  Meditation is a great way to find your happy place; it brings you back to you and ensures that you are always living in the present moment.

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7. Make sure you embrace all your emotions.

In life you are going to find that it throws you some difficult challenges, sometimes it will bring out your fears and lead you into uncertainty, and other times it will be joyful.  It’s important to embrace all emotions that come up in your life, embrace them wholeheartedly and understand why they are there and then let them go.  Try not to dismiss or resist them because remember “what you resist, persists,” so embrace them each and every time.

8. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone for some people can leave you paralyzed with fear; however for any changing in your life, your comfort zone will always have to be stepped out of.  It doesn’t have to be something big, like doing a sky-dive or something just as crazy. However, it’s worthwhile to change something that you’d once have feared, like going to the cinema on your own or eating at a sushi restaurant when the thought of trying raw fish which would normally mean you running for the hills.

So try something new—it doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to challenge you!

9. Be on hand to help others.

Whether it’s helping a stranger on the street or a family member or a friend helping someone else either in their time of need, lending a helping hand is a wonderful and simple self-improvement to make.  Giving to others is not only beneficial to those you are helping but also to yourself; it can give you a sense of purpose, of contribution and also takes your mind of your own troubles and worries.

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10. Live in the present moment.

A wonderful self-improvement tool is to live in the present moment, to live in the now.  It is within this moment that you’ll appreciate all that you have and see the beauty in the simplest of things.  Being mindful of your current circumstances and bringing your mind back to where it belongs will bring about a happier way of life instead of constant worry or stressing about the past or future—both of which do not exist. Only the present moment exists. When you get used to living that way, you’ll never want to go back!

11. Learn something new.

There is nothing so liberating as learning something new; it can lift both your confidence and self-esteem and give you a great reason to meet new people.  If you continually top up your brain activity by learning something new all the time, you’ll feel on top of your game and want to share the knowledge you have learned. There is nothing quite so empowering as learning a new tool in life that can either improve your circle of friends or raise confidence levels—or both!

Reading is also a great way to help you learn something new:

12. Exercise daily.

This seems an obvious one, but exercise is so important not only to your health but also to your spirit.  We all know that after exercise, the world can feel a brighter and more positive place, so why don’t we do it more often?  Exercise isn’t about getting the perfect body or losing weight; it’s more about feeling good inside and out!  With a healthy body comes a healthy mind—so start something today. Even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s better than staying on that couch, again.

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13. Go to new places, travel a bit.

I’m not saying go fly off to some far away distant forgotten land—although you can if you so wish. It’s more about going to new places and experiencing life outside of your own back yard.  Too many of us stay in one place too often. We only see the same people, the same streets and do the same things each and every day.  If you want to improve your life, get out there and see the world and what it can offer.  You can start by going to a town or city you’ve never been to in your own country and checking out the architecture, the landscapes and the people.  Anything new is good, so get out there!

14. Listen to uplifting music and dance.

If there’s one thing that can really improve your life and get you excited about it, it’s listening to great uplifting music and dancing.  When was the last time you really let go?  Let it all hang loose and got into a piece of music and let yourself go?  Dancing, like exercise, makes you feel great. It releases all kinds of emotions and can make you feel unbelievably good.  Self-improvement isn’t all about the serious stuff; it can be something as simple as finding new music, music that inspires you and makes you dance and have fun!

15. Get up earlier than normal.

This is the last one, and it’s last because it’s one of those self-improvement tips that we all know is a good thing, yet we seem to avoid it at all costs!  If you think about it, the earliest part of the day is when your brain is most active because it’s been turned off for the last 7 hours or so.  So don’t you think it’s best to get all those things above done in the morning?  Things like exercise, meditation and dancing, which can all be done in the first part of the day.  Take it from me: this early morning stuff can really get your day started with a bang!

More on Self-Improvement

Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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