Surrounding ourselves with piles of ‘stuff’ can negatively affect our lives by making us feel overwhelmed or disorganized. When our homes, cars, or work spaces are filled with clutter, we often feel like our lives are this way as well. Physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress. We can stop this clutter by avoiding impulse buying and by distinguishing between our ‘wants’ and our ‘needs’ during shopping trips. If we only buy things that are needed, we will likely appreciate the items we already own much more.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to only purchase items you need and to hold off on the things you want. Being content with your current belongings ultimately leads to happiness and satisfaction. Every time you make a purchase, stop to think, ‘Is this a need or a want?” Ask yourself if you already have an item at home that could serve the same purpose. Reflect on the items you have instead of instinctively buying more stuff. This will lead to a feeling of gratitude versus a feeling your life is somehow always lacking.
For those who are parents, teaching gratitude to your children is one of the most priceless gifts they can receive. If children believe they will receive every toy they want, they will not value the ones they have. Lead by example by appreciating what you have and showing daily gratitude. Materialism makes people feel less competent, reduces gratitude, lowers their ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life, generates negative emotions, and makes individuals more self-centered. Yet, by contrast, gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience positive feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress. Being more grateful will improve our lives!
Besides the self-satisfaction gained from more thoughtful shopping, think about how much money could be saved on every shopping trip! Money not spent on ‘unnecessary’ items can be saved to buy better quality necessities or experiences. Some ways to “stop the stuff” include: make lists before going shopping, don’t let sale items draw you in if you don’t need them, and remember all the wonderful acquisitions you already own and be grateful.