With all the upside to new stuff, of course, there is a downside we should consider. The Huffington Post article, “The Psychology of Materialism, and Why It’s Making You Unhappy” sites 6 reasons why the newest and greatest may not be all that. Here they are restated and elaborated on in my own words.
Consumer Culture may be harming individual well-being
There has been so much research done on this subject and most of it comes up with the same results. In an age of material affluence, we are finding ourselves less relational and more self-absorbed. In fact, there is an entire generation that has been brought up in this mindset, breeding a host of personal and social issues.
Materialist values are linked to type A behavior
It turns out that Type A’s have more to worry about than heart attacks. Kidding aside, if you consider yourself a typical type A personality, you may find accumulating new things gives you a rush of pleasure, but only for a moment.
Money really can’t buy you happiness
Studies are conclusive that wealth and possessions do not equate to a happy life. To the point, it is not the money or materials that make us unhappy, rather our quest to have “more” that appears to create both stress and dissatisfaction in our lives.
Materialism could ruin your relationships
Studies show that couples who place high value on material things are less satisfied with their relationships or marriages. In numerous studies, marriages where both spouses reported low materialism were better off. This may have something to do with the fact that materialistic people tend to have less empathy toward others and their environment.
Consumer cultures may breed narcissistic personalities
Because materialism feeds a personal need, the long term effects may aid in developing a generation of narcissists. Distinguishing between needs and wants can become a very fine line for those living in the land of plenty.
Consumerism is fueled by insecurity and remedied by mindfulness
Consumerism is considered a “modern religion” and to that effect is a “belief system and culture that promotes consuming as a path to self and social improvement.” – Stephanie Kaza, University of Vermont professor. The cure, mindfulness. Practicing be present, aware of what you have, who you’re with, and what you’re doing can create more peace than any inanimate object.
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