“Be content with what you have” sounds like a very simple thing to do, but it is not. In fact, because of today’s consumerism (the theory that increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable) it is becoming extremely difficult to not want more. However, Dodson says that researches have shown that this behavior does not actually make people happier. Actually, it produces a result of the complete opposite where the more people consume, the more they are stressed and depressed. Here we will discuss the points in Dodson’s article that made an impact and made me realize that buying happiness is in fact a depressing reality.
When people want things, the first thing needed is money. In order to get more money to get the things people want, the condition is usually to work harder than usual. Sometimes it comes to a point where the person ends up sacrificing his personal time or even family time just to dedicate it to work. This inevitably leads to having more stressful hours and less time spent giving their bodies the rest it needs. And the fact is that once people get what they want, the actual “state of happiness” doesn’t last very long. According to various researches Dodson mentioned in his article, income can only be relevant to the level of happiness until the point where people can sustain themselves financially, any further than that may lead to depression and a somewhat unsatisfied state of mind.
Another thing to consider is the contribution of media to the said issue. Whenever we watch TV we always see commercials of all sorts of things. There is one thing that relates all of this – a seduction to spend money on things that you don’t really need. When we see an advertisement of a tool that “makes life easier” we think that “Oh wow! I’ll get to spend more time doing other things if I get this” then we purchase that item. However, if people are unable to get that item due to financial constraints, they would feel saddened by the fact that they cannot get it. And I think that is one contributing factor to the fact that people become depressed.
Another idea which I found interesting in Dodson’s article is that the alarming increase in the depression and stress levels of people who wish to make more money might be a message from our bodies to stop. Maybe the thing is people weren’t made to go through such extremities like working 10 hours a day or going through sleepless nights just to finish a project or report. And in my personal opinion, I believe prioritizing comfort over luxury will eventually make us happier in the long run. Pay no mind to the people who live extravagant lives and focus on yours and what you think is enough for you. I mean, I think it is alright to want some unnecessary things here and there but we should know when to stop. Also, never forget to regularly engage in activities which stimulate you both physically and mentally; such as, socializing, exercising, and maintaining constant communication with the people close to you. This is because this era of consumerism has somehow removed those from our daily lives, but we should remember that these are things we actually need in order to maintain sane and actually, happy.
Dodson, Peter. "Buying Happiness: The Depressing Reality of Materialism." September 2007. Briarpatch Magazine. 26 March 2013