Our society has leveraged us to buy, to consume, to keep on striving for the next thing to make us happy. To maintain this never ending quest of retail therapy we need to work more to earn the funds to keep buying things that generally provide fleeting moments of satisfaction that don’t tend to last long until we turn our attention to the next purchase.
In the process to buy to achieve and to attain we can put ourselves under immense stress, accumulate huge amounts of debt and invoke illness.
Why has consumer spending become a way of life? Why are we stuck in a cycle of buying things to impress people who mostly don’t care and who we might not even like?
Visiting an aged home once with a friend to see her sick father, we noticed a suitcase and an old cardboard box full of belongings outside of one of the rooms. A nurse informed us that the woman who had previously inhabited the room had passed away and they were waiting on someone to come and pick up the remainder of the dead woman’s belongings.
This is all the woman who had died had had. No doubt she had previously owned more things but generally the older we get the more we can realize how little value the material objects we have gathered over years, decades, in fact our lifetimes actually have.
By the time some of us end up as the woman had in a home we have had to downsize greatly and all those objects we strove to buy have been mainly given away or thrown out.
The question is why did we ever need these things to value ourselves in the first place. Does having more things make us happier or is it possible that having less is more fulfilling?
6 reasons to be happier with less and not more
1. You will spend less money
By making the decision to not buy unnecessary things that you do not need you will save more money. Once you realize that you don’t need ten pairs of jeans, six coats and endless amounts of other clothes you never wear, you will lose the inclination to shop. If you stop spending money on superfluous expenditure you can pay of your debts, save your money and help the planet by not wasting it’s valuable resources for five minutes of endorphins from buying something that you in actual fact do not need and probably don’t even want. It takes time to break the compulsion to aimlessly shop that has become a pastime, instead of something we used to do if we actually really needed something. By spending less and limiting what you buy to what you really need you will find that you will be happier with less and grateful for what you already have.
2. Having too much stuff creates stress
Minimalist living helps to minimize the stress in our lives. Most people’s homes are stuffed full of things they don’t ever use. Too much stuff creates clutter which creates stress. Living with less stuff and de-cluttering your environment will help your mind to clear. Decluttering also makes the space we live in feel so much bigger. We no longer need to upgrade to a bigger home to accommodate all the excess stuff we have accumulated. A house with less things is also easier to maintain which saves time.
3. Less stress equals better health
As we remain on the hamster wheel of consumerism to buy more stuff we don’t need we need to work harder to earn the money to keep indulging in the never ending purchases.
We can spend so much time working to pay for these objects we don’t need that our health can suffer, our stress levels can increase and we can end up being sick. Living more simply and making the conscious decision to abandon a consumer lifestyle that constant marketing bombards us with and instead taking time to enjoy our life is an important way to nurture ourselves and remain healthy.
4. You feel more in control of your life with less
Once you stop allowing possessions to run your life, you will gain control of it. Due to the addiction of buying things they don’t need many people, even on large salaries can live from paycheck to paycheck. Credit card debt can get out of control and depression and anxiety can follow the euphoria of purchases. Once you stop buying what you do not need, you are in a far better position to get any accumulated debt paid off and take control of your life.
5. Having less stuff makes you appreciate what you already have
In the age of instant gratification we have lost the ability to treasure what we buy. The joy we feel when we buy things without waiting without needing without delaying gets more and more diminished. To experience those first few elated emotions associated with buying a product you then buy more but rather than emulating the feeling of gratitude for something that you really need, something that you have saved up for so you can afford it the purchase ends up making you feel stressed instead of happy. Like a never ending hangover we keep striving to achieve the same high with ongoing purchases but unless we really need or value what we buy it ends up not fulfilling it’s role in making us feel good about purchasing it. Having less stuff and loving what you already possess makes you grateful and gratefulness is highly attached to being happy. If we are not grateful for what we already have, how will new things make us happy and fulfilled? The answer is they will not. Minimalist living helps you appreciate what you have and not yearn for what you don’t have
6. Shopping addiction and accumulating things we don’t need is fed by our own insecurities
We buy things we don’t need to feel better about ourselves. We wish to be perceived by others as stylish, well off and hip as well as wanting to fit in. The thing is that we generally buy things to impress others who don’t even care. Everyone is so involved with themselves they have little interest in what others are doing, especially how they dress, or how they look and if they do why give it any thought? Self-doubters evaluate themselves from the perspective of others. Start valuing yourself and release the need for approval from others. Once you let go of the need to buy things to get the attention of others and to fleetingly feel good about yourself you will be happier with less and learn that buying things is not the way to achieve self confidence and freedom.
Having less is freeing. It frees you from striving for the need for more of what you actually don’t need. Once you clear out your physical environment you’ll be able to fully appreciate what you have and what’s really important in your life.
Once you own less and stop buying less you will learn to want less. And when you don’t want to own more than you already have or really need you will be free from the constant comparisons in our society we make to others and what they own. It becomes totally irrelevant. Less instead of more can really equal a more happier, contented, healthier and peaceful life.