Saturday, May 17, 2014

5 Reasons to be Less Materialistic

materialistic
How often do we hear about the “rich guy” who had to back-stab all of his friends and families to get where he is? We can sometimes do terrible things just to get more money. One study shows that even just the mere presence of money can sometimes trigger us to be less cooperative and make more unethical decisions.
I don’t think this has to be the case. I think this is mostly a product of our culture and a misplacement of values. I think we can still live with nice material things and money while still acknowledging the importance of other values too.

Materialistic beliefs amplify negative events
Focusing on materialistic values can also make our lives seem more difficult than they really are.
We start to compare our lives to the lives of wealthier people, and we begin to feel unsatisfied and depressed. Whether it’s admiring celebrities in the media, or just trying to keep up with our neighbors, we feel a need to at least be equal with the average person.
And when this standard isn’t met, we begin to think that our lives can’tpossibly be as good as other people’s.
One study shows that materialistic beliefs can amplify stressful and negative events, even when they aren’t directly related to material things. According to the researcher Aric Rindfleisch from Michigan State University:
    “If you’re a materialistic individual and life suddenly takes a wrong turn, you’re going to have a tougher time recovering from that setback than someone who is less materialistic. The research is novel in that an event that’s unrelated to materialism will have a stronger impact on someone because of their materialistic values. In other words, materialism has a multiplier effect. It’s a finding that I think is especially interesting given our consumer-driven economy.”
For one reason or another, having a very materialistic attitude makes us less likely to bounce back from life’s obstacles and challenges. Perhaps because we underestimate the importance of a strong mind or a meaningful life beyond material things.

Retail therapy works, but it’s only a quick fix
Due to our materialistic culture, one big self-therapy we use is “retail therapy,” which is basically buying new things for ourselves when we feel down or depressed.
Have you ever done retail therapy? We probably all have from time-to-time. And while one study shows that retail therapy can work as a short-term boost in mood, it’s still only a quick fix – as well as an expensive one.
There are many ways to distract ourselves from a problem by indulging in material things, but you ultimately can’t fix the deeper problems in your life by ignoring them.
Material things can often be a way to escape aspects of our lives that we don’t feel like accepting or dealing with. It’s a crutch. And while it may provide some temporary relief, it doesn’t help us live a happy life in them long-term.

People don’t really like materialistic individuals
Take a moment to think of the typical “rich person” and you’re probably going to get a bad taste in your mouth.
Several studies show that individuals tend to like materialistic individuals less than individuals who are less materialistic. This is most likely due to the persistent stereotype that materialistic individuals are more self-centered and callous toward others.
We tend to believe that people who are materialistic only care about themselves and aren’t as friendly or caring as someone who is less interested in material things.
Imagine if you only had relationships with others based on what you could get from them, and not based on liking the person or caring about their well-being.
That’s how some materialistic individuals view their relationships – they see them only as a means to get more or make more money.
This is why materialistic people are often a “warning sign” in our everyday, social world. We are less likely to trust them or give them the benefit of the doubt. Instead, we worry that they may have selfish and ulterior motives.

Meaning is often more important than pleasure
Materialism often leads to a lot of pleasure-seeking. We are always looking for the next “high” from our latest purchase or luxury, and we lose track of finding a more meaningful life.
The worst part is that this “high” never lasts long, so we have to constantly search for our next fix just to keep our happiness levels up. This cycle is known as the hedonic treadmill – our never-ending pursuit of pleasure.
According to research, a meaningful life can often be happier and healthier than a pleasurable one. Studies have even found that finding meaning and purpose in life can activate certain genes that are associated with less stress and anxiety.
It’s more important that we have a “big picture” perspective on our lives, our story, and the role we play in the world – and that we don’t just completely identify ourselves with what we own or how many things we have.

Source: 5 Reasons to be Less Materialistic

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