You may not have all the same chic outfits, fancy cars and new electronics as your neighbour (not to mention, you don’t show them off to the same obnoxious degree), but you may have something she doesn’t: happiness. People who are more materialistic are also more depressed and less satisfied than the rest of us, say psychology and business researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. That’s because these folks are constantly obsessed with what they don’t have, instead of feeling grateful for what they’ve already got.
Humans are healthier when we focus on others. Since we can’t survive without each other’s support, the little lift we get by helping another individual is a hard-wired reward to make sure we keep doing it.
If people spend a lot of time buying new stuff for themselves, they simply wind up wanting more, and feeling grossly deprived in the process. Apparently, all this takes so much selfish inward concentration that they miss out on that happy little perk that comes from focusing on someone else’s needs.
Hence the crushing existential emptiness.
Hm. My house is modest, my clothes are sensibly priced and my iPhone 6 is, um, not yet a reality.
But now I feel much, much better about it.