If asked to make a list of the happiest moments in their lives, most people will say that they are the times they spend with friends and family, enjoying the moment, enjoying nature, admiring a work of art, doing something for someone they love or for someone in need. They also enjoy learning, understanding, and moving their body — walking, dancing, or pursuing a sport.
None of these pursuits require money. The feeling of enjoyment that comes from learning, accomplishing something, or bringing joy to others lasts longer than simply purchasing new clothes.
There’s no denying that buying a new outfit or a new car is pleasurable, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. That pleasure, however, loses its luster very quickly. In fact, that’s why many people buy more clothes and stuff than they really need. They have to keep buying more to repeatedly get that quick fix of enjoyment, despite the fact that it fades so quickly.
Instead of focusing on those quick highs from getting something new, focus your energy on the deeper, more meaningful ways to experience happiness, and your longing to seek the short-lived gratification of purchasing more stuff will diminish.
by Alison Poulsen, Phd