Wie Konsum uns unglücklich macht

How consumption makes us unhappy

The pursuit of happiness through consumption

By buying products, we reward ourselves: we fulfill our wants and needs by spending our hard-earned money to treat ourselves.

A new product can give us a feeling of happiness.

It is believed that our happiness and contentment depend on the acquisition of material things.

The vicious circle of our consumer behavior

The disadvantage is that this satisfaction is often short-lived.

This is especially true when we buy something unnecessary or something that does not meet our expectations.

Even with worthwhile purchases, we adapt quickly and the initial satisfaction fades over time.

In both cases, our brain looks for a solution by looking for new purchases to experience another dopamine rush.

This behavior does not lead to happiness or freedom, but limits us because it forces us to constantly acquire new things.

But why does additional consumption bring so little (additional) happiness?

The paradox of expectations and happiness

If we have (very) high expectations about buying something, this usually leads to disappointment. We often imagine how excited we will be when we buy a new car or a house, but then we realize that our happiness is not as great as we expected.

This is the difference between “expected happiness” and “experienced happiness.”

What's more, because our consumer culture encourages us to compare ourselves to others and define our worth based on our possessions, our desires continue to increase along with our possessions.

This leads to feelings of inadequacy and envy.

Revealing the path to true happiness

Excessive consumption does not lead to long-term happiness or satisfaction.

In fact, it does the opposite.

If you feel the urge to buy something just for the sake of it, stop and look for alternatives that will truly make you happy.

True happiness is found in stable relationships, self-determination, freedom and responsible actions.

Stress and status

A study has shown that people who strive for prestige and fame have more physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches and stomach problems, than less status-oriented people.

In addition, a materialistic mindset is associated with less positive feelings in everyday life. Buying expensive items leads to constant worry about maintaining them, which increases stress levels.

Furthermore, what was once considered a luxury is eventually perceived as a necessity.

Finding a balance for lasting happiness

Possession and consumption do not bring lasting happiness, but rather hinder our fulfillment and satisfaction.

We don't have to completely forego material goods, because a certain amount of resources gives us a feeling of security.

However, it is important to find a balance between intangible and material goals.

Before you buy something new, you should ask yourself whether an expensive jacket or the latest cell phone are really necessary for your well-being.

Satisfaction or illusion?

How have you felt in the past after fulfilling an expensive, materialistic wish?

Did you really feel better afterward?

Why was this product so important to you?

If we want to be happier in the long term - and do our planet a favor - we should start reflecting more critically on our consumer behavior.

Every now and then ask yourself what is behind the desire for a particular product and consider whether this goal can be achieved in a different way.

It is not uncommon for the desire to own a particular product to be based on a much deeper need that we cannot satisfy by purchasing it.

Our "easiest" solution to this is to rush into the next purchase - a vicious circle.