We live in a society where more is “better” and purchases are a reflection of status. The problem is, most purchases are just stepping stones and there isn’t an end—just more chasing the next thing. Marketing tactics are designed to trick us into thinking that what we have isn’t good enough, despite our belongings being completely functional and in good condition. They often trick us into thinking that we need “better” and more.

We’re taught to work hard for happiness and success, but consumerism teaches us to place value on materialistic things, instead of our health or our relationships with those we love. This kind of mentality strips us from recognizing, being mindful of, and truly treasuring the simple joys in life—the things we feel from the heart and the memories we share with the best people in our lives. It’s also not great for the environment.

Acknowledging how much consumerism holds you back from true happiness is a first step on the path to many more forms of emotional and financial wellness and a greater sense of purpose. Our mental health and wellness, as well as our financial, can benefit from ditching this mindset for a more mindful one instead. Here are two initial steps you can take:

  • Dedicate time to getting rid of items you do not need anymore, and then donate them to a local organization that you support. This can provide clarity of mind and enables you to hold yourself accountable for the things you invite into your life, as well as those you let go from it. Have you ever been in a house or living space that just had a lot of stuff in it? Compare it to one that had less stuff. Notice how much lighter it felt and how easier it was for you to just breathe.
  • Become more mindful of your spending habits. Doing so can provide more financial freedom, lessens environmental impact and yields less waste—a win, win, win. When we shift our mindset from what we could have to what we do have, life becomes more meaningful. We’re more intentional when it comes to what we spend our time doing and our ‘why’ becomes clearer.

Some people say that materialistic things bring them happiness because they worked hard for it. But what about the lasting feeling of happiness—joy? Happiness is fleeting but joy isn’t just a feeling, it’s an attitude. It’s something we choose every day from choosing gratitude. Gratitude for all the things we do have, like our loved ones and health, our life and our passions.

Work hard for happiness and success no matter what your definition of it, but don’t forget to think about if everything you need might already be right in front of you.


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