Learn to be happier with less – El Sol de México

Currently there is a minimalist school of thought that values ​​the idea that we are not going to live better by surrounding ourselves with more things, but rather the important thing is to know how to enjoy what we have and find happiness in it without needing more, says psychologist Isabel Aranda. , from the TherapyChat platform.

  • Living according to the idea that “less is more” is a conscious choice, different from resignation, often learned, which consists of adapting to what you have and settling for what you have with a passive attitude, without aspiring to change. the situation or improve it, without making an effort or looking for opportunities, he adds.
  • Shopping and consuming material goods gives us an ephemeral happiness that dissipates when the novelty wears off. Lasting happiness is an internal state that comes to life in the daily experiences we live with the people we love, something essential for our psychological balance, according to Aranda.

Human beings have always sought the comfort and satisfaction generated by material goods, created to make our lives easier and more pleasant. But how does the growing number of objects that we acquire and incorporate into our environment affect our psychological well-being? Can we be happy with fewer material goods around us?

“The search for happiness through material possessions is one of the main problems facing 21st century society,” according to Isabel Aranda, health psychologist and chief content officer of the online psychotherapy platform TherapyChat. (www.therapychat.com).

This problem affects “especially young people, who live in a world characterized by overexposure in the digital sphere, social canons and the need to show themselves in a certain way on social networks,” according to him.

“This context, added to the development of an increasingly global world in which advertising no longer sells products, but rather lifestyles, means that we end up confusing happiness with materialism,” according to Aranda.

The search for happiness through material possessions is one of the main problems facing society in the 21st century.

According to this specialist, shopping is an activity that makes a high percentage of people happy, and this phenomenon could originate in the neurophysiological response that occurs, in the form of feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, when we acquire an object that covers a need. that we had.

“This pleasant sensation is a natural response, but also addictive and, above all, ephemeral, which can be counterproductive if it is used to fill a personal void, hide low self-esteem or hide emotional deficiencies,” explains this expert.

Shopping: fleeting satisfaction

He highlights that in reality, the joy and well-being that come from the consumption of material goods are a mirage, because they disappear.

“Once we incorporate these objects into our lives, they lose their novelty effect and we return to the starting point, in which we need to make a new purchase to experience that feeling of happiness again,” he points out.

To escape this vicious circle, Aranda recommends asking yourself: does this thing I’m going to buy really make me happy, or is it that I’ve been told it will make me happy…?

For this expert “it is undeniable that we need certain material objects to live, and that not having access to these goods can have a negative impact on our physical and psychological well-being. For example, a house to shelter ourselves in, clothes to wear, food to feed ourselves and other added products can help us have a comfortable life.”

Fewer possessions help us get rid of the materialistic mentality and social pressure that leads us to buy something.

But we must “learn to differentiate those goods we need from those we want: while the lack of the former can affect our well-being, lacking some of the latter can be beneficial for our psychological balance,” he adds.

“In addition to helping us focus on the really important things, lightening our daily lives, living with fewer possessions helps us get rid of the materialistic mentality and social pressure that leads us to buy something that does not reflect our identity,” says Aranda.

“Although an electronic device in itself can be useful for communicating or working, you may not need the latest model of mobile phone, nor is it essential to buy that outfit from your favorite clothing store because it has gone viral on social networks,” exemplified.

“When you reach these types of conclusions, you leave the vicious circle of advertising and consumerism, and you regain control of yourself in a society guided by image,” he highlights.

Striving to be more aware of how we live and value things and making our life go towards what we want, giving up what we have left over, brings us closer to happiness and distances us from resignation, a passive attitude close to complaint. and victimhood, which consists of adapting to “what there is,” without aspiring to change or improve, according to Aranda.

Keys to non-consumerist happiness

In this sense, this psychologist offers some guidelines to learn to be happy with less and achieve this goal:

  • Ask yourself if you need the things you miss. “Learning to differentiate what we need from what we want can help us focus on what is important and save us enormous psychological discomfort,” she says.
  • Remember that what you own does not define who you are. For Aranda it is essential to remember that our possessions do not reflect our worth, nor do they define who we are; They only have one use in life. “They are a means, not an end,” he highlights.
  • Enjoy the small details. “A family meal, a night watching a movie wrapped up in a blanket, an afternoon with friends. “Happiness is often linked to simple, everyday experiences shared with our loved ones,” she notes.
  • Focus on what you have. “Instead of focusing on what you lack, value what you have and be grateful that it is present in your life. This way you will be more aware of how lucky you are and that will help you feel fuller happiness,” Aranda reflects.
  • Embrace new habits for your well-being. “In times of economic crisis, we may have to do without yoga classes or dinner at a restaurant, but we must find other activities and customs that allow us to enjoy life,” concludes María Jesús Ribas.

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