We are all too often in a hurry to buy more; Christmas, birthdays, nights out, summer wardrobes, winter wardrobes, new cars, home improvements, the list goes on and on. While we are always focused on bringing more into our lives, do we ever stop to consider how reducing the amount of stuff we have can bring more satisfaction? Soul Analyse explores the idea that reducing the excess in your life can make you happier.
Materialism Breeds Unhappiness
A study from San Francisco State University, found that people are happier when they spend money on experiences, as opposed to material items. So, with this confirmation, stop believing that you need more in order to be happy – life itself is much more rewarding than anything money can buy!
Don’t waste your money on things you don’t need; the system is designed to make you do just that. Most retail sales are now driven by discounts and flash sales, forcing shoppers to be impulsive. This is a choice, however, and you can make the decision not to buy into it.
What’s the Cost?
If you have a wardrobe stacked with low-cost fashion clothing, you are actively contributing to the growing problem of fast fashion. ‘Fast fashion’ refers to low-cost clothing that captures current trends. Collections are turned around very quickly and often involve cheap labour.
Our obsession with more, more, more comes at a great cost – as the demand for clothing increases, factory workers, in the likes of Bangladesh and China, experience poorer conditions and are left to handle more pressure.
Just think of the environmental impact it is having on the world too; cotton accounts for over 10% of the world’s pesticides and, in addition, textile waste is fed into landfills. All of this damage is done to the world, in exchange for you to experience a moment of gratification.
It’s an industry that requires big change and, until this happens, you can choose not to take part. Reduce the amount of clothes you have. Sure, you can have a few favourite items, so long as you wear them. Make sure the few items you do own are high-quality and ethically-sourced, and you’ll also have more value for them.
Having less Feels Better
House sizes are rising but household sizes are decreasing – meaning people are living in bigger spaces than ever before. But having more room, means more “stuff” and clutter is linked to unhappiness. It’s time to remove the inessentials in your life and get rid of the baggage.
There are some clear advantages to having less – there will be less for you to clean and there’ll be less clutter but on a deeper level, owning less is very good for your emotional state of being. Happiness can only come from within and the more possessions you own, the less you’ll be able to appreciate the true beauties of life.
Have you ever considered learning Taoism? It’s a beautiful spiritual practice that has become mainstream throughout the world. Some cite there are 20 million Taoists, while others have estimated there to be over 200 million followers, (The exact figure is near impossible to estimate, due to the varying factors.)
Not dissimilar to Zen, Taoism’s goal is to teach people how to live genuine and content lives. It teaches to be accepting, to live naturally and to remove excess in our lives.
Taoists are guided to be flexible; always allowing life to just flow, and this helps when getting rid of material objects, as you won’t feel so attached to them. The great, late Dr. Wayne Dyer spent a whole year living according to Taoism. In this period, he gave up all of his material items; his clothes, his books, even his house. He learned how to let life take its natural course, rather than being focused on the short-lived artificial happiness that is often found with material items.