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The Science Behind Why It’s So Hard to Get Rid of Clutter

There’s a clear link between what you keep and how you feel about yourself.

BY AMY MORIN    PUBLISHED ON: FEB 12, 2016
Author, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”    @AmyMorinLCSW

There’s a reason Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has sold millions of copies and dominated the bestseller lists since it’s release in 2014–people yearn for simple, clutter-free spaces. Despite the desire for simplicity, embracing Kondo’s minimalist lifestyle may be more difficult than it seems.

Kondo recommends only keeping the items that “spark joy” and eliminating everything else. Readers who successfully adopt Kondo’s methods report emptying drawers, cleaning closets, and clearing off table tops in an effort to unload heaps of clutter.

While a tidier home can spark joy for many people, others aren’t willing–or emotionally able–to part with their possessions. Getting rid of stuff stirs up a lot of emotional turmoil and for some, it’s just not worth it.

Whether you’re hesitant to donate clothes that went out of style a decade ago, or you’re reluctant to toss your childhood bowling trophy, you’re not alone. Research explains why it can be so difficult to part with your possessions.

The Link Between What You Have and Who You Are

The objects you struggle to get rid of are likely tied to your self-worth, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Rather than viewing those objects as “mine,” you may think of them as “me.”

The study found that people struggle the most to part with possessions that lack monetary or functional value. That’s why people who lose their possessions to burglaries or fires report the psychological damage is far worse than the financial loss.

clutter

According to researchers, the items you hang onto are likely to be linked directly to your self-worth. And people measure their self-worth in different areas.

While one person may link their worth to their physical appearance, someone else may think their value stems from other people’s approval. Whatever objects you cling to the most, are likely the ones that fuel your self-worth.

If you place a lot of value in success, for example, you may have trouble getting rid of anything that serves as a tangible reminder of your accomplishments. A plaque from your last job, an expensive watch that no longer works, or a stack of old college transcripts may represent your achievement.

Throwing away these objects might cause you to feel slightly less successful. It’s as if these physical manifestations of your triumphs will somehow take away from your achievements.

If however, you value your relationships above everything else, you may have difficulty getting rid of gifts from other people. Donating that shirt that never fit, may lead you to feel like you’re being disloyal to Grandma. Or, getting rid of that book your friend gave you, may cause you to feel like you’re giving away a little bit of your friendship.

Those palpable objects likely fuel your identity as someone who is loved and appreciated. Despite their lack of function, you may feel like they serve as proof that you mean something to other people.

To Keep or Not to Keep

The study shows that getting rid of these objects leads to real grief. Parting with possessions that make you feel worthy can cause you to experience sadness–and even depression.

So the next time you get frustrated by your cluttered desk or your spare room that serves as a catch-all, consider whether those objects you’re holding onto have anything to do with your self-worth. Not only could it give you some insight into the way you measure your self-worth, but it might also help you decide what’s worse: the grief you’ll experience if you toss it or the frustration you experience from looking at the clutter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

source: www.inc.com
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Being Materialistic Makes You Unhappy Unless You Have The Right Attitude

Happiness can be compatible with being materialistic under the right circumstances.

People who are more materialistic are generally less satisfied with life.

They are less satisfied with their relationships, less satisfied with their standard of living and generally experience fewer positive emotions.

But encouraging an attitude of gratitude could be the answer to greater satisfaction for materialistic people, according to a recent study.

Being grateful for what they have could help people enjoy a life which focuses more on the acquisition of material possessions.

The study’s authors write:

“Given the negative relationship that materialism has with positive affect, it stands to reason that positive affect and related constructs such as gratitude might be important moderators in the association between materialism and life satisfaction.
In contrast to materialism, gratitude is a positive emotion that is experienced when someone perceives that another person has intentionally given him or her a valued benefit.”

materialistic

For the study 249 people completed a survey, the main results of which were as expected:

“People who pursue happiness through material gain tend to feel worse, and this is related to negative appraisals of their satisfaction with life.”

That said, people who were more grateful for what they had did not see the same drops in life satisfaction as those who were less grateful.

The study’s authors continued:

“Individuals high in gratitude showed less of a relationship between materialism and negative affect.
Additionally, individuals high in materialism showed decreased life satisfaction when either gratitude or positive affect was low.”

The benefits of gratitude could be partly down to a focus on other people.

One of the reasons that materialism can kill positive emotions is that it encourages people to be selfish.

“Specifically, individuals who are able to appreciate what they have even while engaging in materialistic pursuits might be able to be maintain high levels of life satisfaction.”

The study was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology (Roberts et al., 2015).

source: PsyBlog


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10 Things You Should Know About Compulsive Hoarding

By Therese Borchard

Many people might claim that, at least at one point in their lives, they could be classified as a “pack rat” or a “closet clutterer.” However, compulsive hoarding is an anxiety disorder that involves much more than keeping extra papers and magazines around, or collecting CDs under your desk. Severe compulsive hoarding can interfere with a person’s activities–such as cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping–because piles of newspapers or clothes are found in the sink, in the shower, on the bed, and in every corner of a home.

There is more awareness of the issue today, due in part to the two reality TV series: “Hoarders” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” However, there is still so much more educating that needs to be done regarding this issue.

Here, then, are ten things you should know about hoarding. Much of the information was taken from the research of Gerald Nestadt, M.D., M.P.H and Jack Samuels, Ph.D. of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

1. Compulsive hoarding affects approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the US.

2. Compulsive hoarding is often considered a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) because between 18 and 42 percent of people with OCD experience some compulsion to hoard. However, compulsive hoarding can affect people who don’t have OCD.

3. The OCD Collaborative Genetics Study reported that genetic linkage findings are different in OCD families with and without hoarding behavior, suggesting that a region on chromosome 14 is linked with compulsive hoarding behavior in these families and that hoarding is a distinct genetic subtype of OCD.

clutter

4. The compulsion to hoard often starts during childhood or the teen years, but doesn’t usually become severe until adulthood.

5. Hoarding can be more about fear of throwing something away than about collection or saving. Thinking about discarding an item triggers anxiety in the hoarder, so she hangs on to the item to prevent angst.

6. Many hoarders are perfectionists. They fear making the wrong decision about what to keep and what to throw out, so they keep everything.

7. Hoarding often runs in families and can frequently accompany other mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and impulse control problems. A majority of people with compulsive hoarding can identify another family member who has the problem.

8. Compulsive hoarders rarely recognize their problem. Generally, only after the hoarding becomes a problem with other family members is the problem discussed.

9. Compulsive hoarding can be difficult to control. It is usually treated in the same way OCD is. However, compulsive hoarding doesn’t usually respond as well as other kinds of OCD.

10. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be more effective for compulsive hoarding than medications, especially when it involves a therapist going into the home of the hoarder and helps her to develop habits and a consistent behavioral program to try to de-clutter her home, car, and life.


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9 Practical Ideas To Live More Spiritually In The Modern World

Have you ever felt like booking a one-way ticket to Tibet or the Himalayas, never to return? Wouldn’t it be nice to live with friendly nuns and peaceful monks — to let the walls of a monastery protect you, instead of dealing with all the challenges we go through on a daily basis?

But before you book your ticket or quit your job, you should ask yourself whether or not a monastery will solve all your life’s problems, or just make them go away temporarily.

What if you didn’t have to travel very far to change your life?

Can you live like the spiritual masters of the East without getting rid of your worldly possessions and booking a one-way ticket overseas?

Here are nine practical ways to live like a wise soul in today’s world.

1. Accept change and fear less.

You likely hate flight changes, weather changes and life changes. But try to learn to accept changes, large and small, that come your way. Change isn’t entirely a bad thing — change happens to help you grow and become stronger and more resilient in the face of what life brings your way.

Your resistance to change makes you fearful, but what if it was a good thing? Change can bring different, better experiences into your life. Also, knowing that things will always change reminds you to appreciate what you have right in front of you.

2. Work without an agenda.

Are you doing your job so that you can get more money, move up the corporate ladder and have more responsibility? Well, a spiritual master would tell you to practice “karma yoga” or, working without attachment.

Do work not for any outward gain, but for the pleasure and joy that the work itself brings. Try to release your attachment to compensation or reward. Enjoy the work you’re doing for the pure pleasure of that work itself. You don’t need to do anything or achieve anything. Simply be who you are and show up to do that work in the world — that is your purpose.

3. Complain less.

You can’t change a lot of things in life, but you can change how you react to them. Embrace the changes with open arms and show gratitude for what you have in your life. Or, complain and scream at everything that doesn’t go your way.

Acceptance leads to joy and happiness. Complaints lead to bitterness and resentment. Choose wisely.

4. Live in the moment.

Emails, texts, instant messages, Twitter and Instagram … how do we keep up?

You can keep up with it all and drive yourself crazy. Or, you could choose to remove these things from your phone and live a more focused life.

Multitasking means reduced-focus tasking. Take on one thing at a time and put all your energy into it. Limit yourself in terms of your data and online world. Turn off your phone at night, or at least leave it in a different room.

When the past comes up in your life, let it go like clouds passing in the sky. Build up a mindfulness practice so that you can continue staying present and being here now.

positivity

5. Fewer expectations, more contentment.

Instead of expecting certain results, focus on the process. Let the results come as they do. Don’t be attached to results that only lead to disappointment and misery.

To be clear, have goals and dreams, but don’t attach yourself to them. Enjoy and master the journey to that destination — let the destination unfold as it does. Be content wherever you are and find contentment in the small things.

View the world through a lens of sufficiency, abundance and gratitude. You are enough. What you have is enough. This moment is enough.

6. See how you’re connected, not divided.

You’re part of one human family and one universal spirit.

As much as your ego wants to separate and divide you, the ancient master would remind you to seek understanding, compassion and love for others. Even more so with people who hurt you and harm you.

Your enemies are your spiritual teachers — forgive them and learn from them. Fewer grudges, more compassion. Less taking, more giving.

7. Accumulate less, simplify more.

Stop piling up your life with too many commitments or things. If you have too many relationships in your life and no time for yourself, cut down on your number of commitments. If you have too many activities and a hectic schedule, prioritize and drop the things that don’t matter.

When it comes to material things, remember that the more stuff that occupies your life, the less you can focus on what truly matters. Simplify your spending, your purchases, your closets and your life.

8. See suffering as growth.

You may view hardships as painful life struggles. That view is causing you mental and physical suffering, but can you learn to see suffering as growth? Can you see suffering, including the people who cause it, as spiritual lessons?

Are you suffering needlessly?Learn to accept what comes your way with love and compassion. Sit with your feelings and thoughts instead of resisting your experiences or the pain that comes with it.

Unlike what modern society tells you, you don’t need anything more to be happy. No one or nothing can come into your life and improve it. You cease to suffer when you realize that you’re not lacking anything, or that you don’t need anything more.

9. More truth. Less hiding.

The ancient spiritual masters would encourage you to show up in the world as you are. Yet you might feel like you’re not likable enough and try to put up a front. Or perhaps you might try to please way too many people.

Instead of putting on a façade or being a people-pleaser, be true to yourself. Get clear on your values and priorities, and live according to them. You don’t have to change your personality or put on an act to have someone love you.

Find the courage to be yourself, to say what you believe in and to do what you were afraid of.

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.” -Swami Vivekananda


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8 Creative Ways to Clear Clutter

by Money Talks New   s 1/11/15  

These tips from Money Talks News are exactly what you need if you’re looking to declutter your home or office space!

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by the postholiday excess all around you? Have the past several years of your family’s success with Santa left your closets, garage, attic, and office filled to the rafters? If so, it may be time for some creative clutter-busting strategies.

Now, here are eight ways of kicking the clutter habit now:

1. Start with three questions

Let three questions cut through your material clutter by cutting through the mental clutter that often makes it difficult to part with things. With each item you consider, ask yourself:

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Do I use it?
  3. Will I ever need it?

If your response to each of these questions is no, then it’s much easier to rationalize passing the item along and letting it find a new home. But be ruthlessly honest as you answer each query. Responses that begin with “No, but . . . ” usually mean that your decluttering is sputtering.

2. Target one area at a time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff that most of us live with. Deciding to declutter and live happily with less is an achievement in its own right. Instead of diving right in and burning out quickly, focus on one area of your home or office at a time.

Because a little positive reinforcement never hurts, start with the easiest areas first. Declutter a chest of drawers, a hall closet, one kitchen cupboard, or a single drawer in your desk. Then use that momentum to move on to the next spot.

If it helps, make a list of all the clutter hot spots that need attention and check each one off as you calm the chaos.

3. Get rid of one item per day

If taming the clutter in your environment seems like an impossible task, start slowly. Decide to rid yourself of just a single item per day but be determined and relentless.

As the weeks and months pass, you’ll begin to notice and enjoy the extra elbow room your efforts have created. Build on your success by accelerating the clutter-busting schedule and letting go of two or three items each day.

declutter-picture

4. Adopt a one-in-one-out rule

To achieve and maintain a clutter-free home or office, adopt a zero-accumulation habit. For every new item that comes into your space, make sure one item goes. Donate or sell usable items and toss what’s left.

For a more aggressive take on the same idea, try a one-in-two-out rule and watch those prodigious piles and cramped closets slowly disappear.

5. Think inside the box

The four-box method is a tried-and-true way to quickly get a handle on large amounts of clutter while still ensuring that each item is consciously considered. To begin, get four large boxes and assign each box one of these labels:

  • Donate.
  • Sell.
  • Trash/recycling.
  • Keep and relocate.

As you process the stuff all around you, each item must land in a box. The boxes become a macro filing system that prevents you from just moving piles around and helps you sort what’s needed and what’s not. When you finish organizing one area, empty the boxes according to their label and start over.

6. Do the dozen

Organize strictly by the numbers and watch the piles shrink fast. Choose a regular time each week or month for a 12-12-12 decluttering project. Find a dozen items in your home or office to donate, a dozen to toss or recycle, and a dozen to return to their proper place. In short order, you’ve gone through at least 36 items and rid yourself of 24.

7. Impose a space limit

As if by magic, the volume of our possessions expands to fit the available space. Before we know it, that larger house we scrimped and saved for is just as cramped as the smaller one we left behind.

To help combat the slow creep of clutter, impose an artificial space limit for problem areas. For example, decide to accumulate no more kitchen utensils than will fit into a single drawer, or only enough makeup for one travel-sized cosmetics bag. Using a finite physical space to limit the seemingly infinite potential of clutter is relatively painless and helps keep those molehills from becoming mountains.

8. Go digital

Ah . . . if only everything we owned could be digitized and stored in the cloud for easy retrieval when we needed it. It sounds like a minimalist’s dream. Thankfully, at least some of the stuff around us qualifies for easy digital or cloud-based storage.

Clear your desk by scanning documents and photos and storing them digitally through a service like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Evernote, or Dropbox. If you don’t have access to a scanner, try minimizing some of the paper clutter by photographing documents.

Few things are more refreshing and reenergizing than starting out the New Year with less stuff and a sharper focus. And it’s relatively simple to do. Cutting the clutter just takes a bit of smart strategy and good old-fashioned perseverance. No matter what method you choose to begin, the biggest step is the first step.


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10 Painfully Obvious Truths

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

THE MIND UNLEASHED on 14 July, 2014 

“The truth does not cease to exist when it is ignored.”

You know how you can hear something a hundred times in a hundred different ways before it finally gets through to you?  The ten truths listed below fall firmly into that category – life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, but for whatever reason, haven’t fully grasped.

This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all…

1.  THE AVERAGE HUMAN LIFE IS RELATIVELY SHORT.

We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know.  It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step.  You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

LIVE your life TODAY!  Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

2.  YOU WILL ONLY EVER LIVE THE LIFE YOU CREATE FOR YOURSELF.

Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path youdecide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.  Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  BEING BUSY DOES NOT MEAN BEING PRODUCTIVE.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days.  Just take a quick look around.  Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin.  Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations.  Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

4.  SOME KIND OF FAILURE ALWAYS OCCURS BEFORE SUCCESS.

Most mistakes are unavoidable.  Learn to forgive yourself.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.  The solution to this problem is making friends with failure.  You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner?  The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

Bottom line:  Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  (Read The Success Principles.)

5.  THINKING AND DOING ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

6.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN APOLOGY TO FORGIVE.

Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.  The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative.  It’s taking a step back and saying, “Thank you for the lesson.”  It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep.  When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.  It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

7.  SOME PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY THE WRONG MATCH FOR YOU.

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.  You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material.  If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them.  If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition.  There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self.  It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

8.  IT’S NOT OTHER PEOPLE’S JOB TO LOVE YOU; IT’S YOURS.

It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.  So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.  Know your worth, even if they don’t.

Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are.  Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.  (ReadLove Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

9.  WHAT YOU OWN IS NOT WHO YOU ARE.

Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person.  Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need.  That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

You have to create your own culture.  Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news.  Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences.  The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered.  You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is.  “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.”  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked.  And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that isn’t important.

10.  EVERYTHING CHANGES, EVERY SECOND.

Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason.  It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow.  You never know.  Things change, often spontaneously.  People and circumstances come and go.  Life doesn’t stop for anybody.  It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day.  It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives.  A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth.  Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event.  And these events are always happening.

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

 


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Why Materialistic People Are Less Happy and Less Satisfied

New research explores the fact that materialistic people are more likely to be depressed and unsatisfied with life.

The study finds that a focus on what you want — and therefore don’t currently have — makes it more difficult to appreciate what you already have, according to the Baylor University research.

The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, recruited 246 people at a private university (Tsang et al., 2014).

The researchers tested:

  •     how materialist and needy they were,
  •     how satisfied they were with life,
  •     and their levels of gratitude.

They found that people who were more materialistic also felt less gratitude which, in turn, was associated with lower levels of life satisfaction.

Psychologists have consistently shown how important gratitude is for both life satisfaction and happiness.

The study’s lead author, Jo-Ann Tsang, explains:

    “Gratitude is a positive mood. It’s about other people.

Previous research that we and others have done finds that people are motivated to help people that help them — and to help others as well.

We’re social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health.”

 

moneyhead
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus
Image credit: Drew Bandy

In contrast to the positive power of gratitude, materialism tends to make people unhappy.

As one of the study’s co-authors, James Roberts, explains:

    “Our ability to adapt to new situations may help explain why ‘more stuff’ doesn’t make us any happier.

As we amass more and more possessions, we don’t get any happier — we simply raise our reference point.

That new 2,500-square-foot house becomes the baseline for your desires for an even bigger house.

It’s called the Treadmill of Consumption.

We continue to purchase more and more stuff but we don’t get any closer to happiness, we simply speed up the treadmill.”

The authors quote the words of Greek philosopher Epicurus, who said:

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

By law, all credit cards should have this quote across the front in fluorescent pink.