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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.

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Daniel Wallen

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

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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