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Living in a Materialistic World

Written by: Amanda Levison, M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT

“The things you own end up owning you” – Tyler Durden in Fight Club

Owning things may become important if you have an internal void that you are trying to fill. However, this can be equated to filling a sieve with sand. It may work temporarily, but the sand may soon sift through the holes and leave a person feeling empty again. Wouldn’t it be nice to fill these voids with relationships, passionate work, service to others, personal challenges, and knowledge? Money cannot buy love, nor can it buy happiness. It appears that the world we now list in urges people to buy the coolest gadgets, the trendiest clothes, and bigger and better things. However, according to an article on CNN:

By and large, money buys happiness only for those who lack the basic needs. Once you pass an income of $50,000 more money doesn’t buy much more happiness, [according to happiness studies].

So how does one go about limited the urge to buy? Reducing the amount of television being watched is extremely useful. Commercials are designed to persuade people to buy what they are advertising. If you do not want to give up TV, you can always record your shows and skip through the commercials. Another suggestion would be to give up magazines for books. Magazines are also designed with advertising in mind.

Here are some beliefs and suggestions to finding your path to happiness:

  1. You aren’t the things you own.

  2. Relationships are about doing, not having.

  3. Create a list of things you are grateful for in your life.

  4. Create a list of small pleasures in your life.

  5. Create a system of goals and challenges.

  6. Practice random acts of kindness and compassion.

  7. Decluttering can be a gratifying process.

  8. See wealth as a challenge not a result.

  9. Think positively and try to eliminate any negative thinking from your life.

  10. Experience over objects.

  11. Exercise and eat healthy.

  12. Build intangible assets.

  13. Use money to free, not chain, yourself.

  14. Give yourself a purpose.

  15. Avoid the status game.

  16. Judge yourself by your ethics and understanding.

  17. Know yourself and become attuned to what brings you happiness.

  18. You can’t take it with you.

  19. If there is something you really want to buy, use a 30-day list – write it down with the date and see if you still want it in 30 days.

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