Why Materialists Are Less Happy

Are you depressed, despite having every ridiculous thing possible? Unfortunately, that’s how it works: the more stuff you have, the less happy you are.

A study published in Personality and Individuality Differences has found that materialism is correlated with unhappiness. Researchers issued a brief survey to 246 people living in the United States; average age was twenty-one. They found that people who had a lot of possessions tended to meet their goals, but reported more unhappiness than anyone else, lower self esteem, lower rate of involvement in relationships, lower engagement with community activities, and less overall satisfaction with their lives.

According to James Roberts, one of the study’s co-authors, “As we amass more and more possessions, we don’t get any happier, we simply raise our reference point,” he said. “That new 2,500-square-foot house becomes the baseline for your desires for an even bigger house. It’s called the Treadmill of Consumption. We continue to purchase more and more stuff but we don’t get any closer to happiness, we simply speed up the treadmill.”

We’ve previously said that whoever dies with the most stuff wins (exhibit A), but the results are pretty compelling. So what’s a guy to do? Well, you can a) buy less, b) buy more stuff for other people, or c) get rid of a bunch of yours stuff. Those are pretty much your only choices.

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