Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Own less, be happier

In a society filled with expensive technology, designer clothing and flash cars, you can see how tempting it is to want the best of everything. But do we want these things to make us feel good or is it ultimately to impress the people around us and post about it on social media? Sadly, much of the time, people crave belongings to increase their social status rather than to make themselves happy. Although our possessions might impress some people, generally, most of us are more impressed by how a person behaves.

Imagine, if you were the only person to exist on the planet, would you really strive so hard to possess all the same unnecessary belongings? Would you still wear designer clothes, or would you opt for something more comfortable?

What many of us don’t realise is that we also buy unnecessary things to fill a void within ourselves or to cheer ourselves up when we’re feeling down. However, these are just temporary fixes and even though you might feel good initially, the feel-good factor soon starts to wear off and the after-effects of splashing the cash can make you feel worse than you did to begin with.

The realisation that the expensive Rolex you just bought, but you can’t actually afford and don’t really need, sets in. Similarly, with sugar cravings, once you’ve indulged, you’ll start to experience a slump.

If you feel down, insecure or depressed and your mental wellbeing is generally out of sorts, you need to work on yourself in other ways.

Ways to ditch the excess

  1. Look at what you own and what you actually need. Make a list of excess belongings that don’t bring you any kind of pleasure or serve any purpose. 
  2. Start to de-clutter. Perhaps you could sell some of the belongings you have listed online or at a car boot sale. The extra money could pay towards your bills or you could even book a holiday, which, in turn, will reduce the stress of financial burdens. 
  3. The extra money could also mean you don’t have to work as hard and you can start to feel more relaxed. With the spare time, do things that you enjoy and make memories from experiences. Maybe make a bucket list and when you’re tempted to buy something you don’t need, tick something off the list. Experiences can improve your mental and physical wellbeing by making you feel alive and appreciating precious moments. You’ll begin to see how your mood changes, your confidence builds and how carefree and happy you feel. By sharing experiences with the people you love, you’ll soon start to care less about possessions and you’ll wonder why you ever spent so much money on meaningless ‘things’.
  4. Reflect on what you need, what makes you happy and what reduces stress and anxiety. Maybe it’s a sport, going out for dinner, socialising with friends, long walks outdoors or days out with the family.

Try to forget about keeping up with the Jones’s and create a richer life that’s filled with happy experiences.

For further information, read the study by Springer Nature, which looks at materialism and how this can affect wellbeing and personality.

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