Happiness can be defined as a spectrum of emotions ranging from sheer elation to quiet contentment. We all have lows in our lives and hopefully some wonderful euphoric moments too. But it's the quiet contentment version of happiness that most of us yearn for.
Unfortunately, many of us think that happiness can be bought: the latest cool piece of technology, new clothes to update our image, an exotic holiday, a fabulous meal in a restaurant or a bigger house or car. These are things that many of us chase because we believe they will improve the quality of our lives. Such things make us happier for a while as we enjoy the anticipation of the new item or experience, the thrill and novelty of the purchase and possibly the attention and pseudo-elevated status that they bring us afterwards. But a few months down the line do we really feel any happier inside? We can only wear so many clothes in a week, and nowadays many items of technology can seem outdated within a matter of months. The elation doesn't last and so we soon need to refresh the go-buy-happiness button.
But you can stop. Next time you get the urge to treat yourself with something materialistic try going without it. Try to break the habit of shopping and big expenses by:
- Waiting a little longer.
- Visiting the shops a little less.
- Imagining a life without that new car, new top or expensive night out.
- Accepting yourself as being a worthy person with or without that new item.
- Realising that you do not deserve the stresses and misery that shopping can bring: the debt, guilt and clutter.
- Making a list of things you need rather than want.
- Finding alternative ways of spending your time that nourish your health and relationships.
- Being creative with your exisiting wardrobe - trying different combinations of garments.
- Being more creative in your own kitchen rather than trying that new restaurant.
- Taking time to explore beautiful and interesting places nearby.
- Making plans to save money to help realise your long-term dreams.
You may well feel initial regret that you've missed an opportunity to improve your life, but that will pass. The more times you decide to stop buying things you don't really need the lighter and freer you will begin to feel. You will realise that you can be happy without many, many things. You'll begin to savour the contentment of being satisfied with what you've got and who you are in preference to the rollercoaster ride of emotions that shopping brings: the decisions, the elation, the guilt, the debt, the resulting clutter.
Shopping for many is a release and an escape from the stresses of our busy lives but it can actually perpetuate our stresses. It can become a compulsion and a habit that's hard to break. It can get in the way of us truly connecting with ourselves and others.
Instead of shopping for a new you invest in the real you.
Are you trying to stay away from the shops? How do you avoid temptation?