You know the kind; they always have everything. The cutest new outfit, the coolest house, the latest designer bag. It’s easy to envy those people or be one of them yourself if you’re not careful. Living on the edge of credit card debt and waiting on the next paycheck just to get the hottest strappy sandals. But when push comes to shove “things” don’t make us happy at all. And not only are you not happy, people aren’t happy to have you around, according to a recent post on .
A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that it’s life’s experiences that make us happy and it’s never about having tons of material possessions.
Leaf Van Boven, psychology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues gave undergraduate students a national survey, which they used in five experiments to test their ideas.
According to Paging Dr. Gupta, in one of them, participants were told about people who had bought a material object or a life experience. Researchers found that when the undergraduates learned about someone making a material purchase, this caused them to like that person less than a different person who purchased something experiential. The authors concluded that people tend to have negative stereotypes about materialistic people. Participants asked to describe a materialistic person often used words such as “selfish” and “self-centered.” When they described a experiential person, adjectives such as “altruistic,” “friendly” and “outgoing” came up, the authors said.
Materialistic people tend to be diagnosed with depression and general mental instability more often. They tend to have less fulfilling friendships which lead to more problems down the road.
Wellness Has Nothing To Do With Possessions
As a yoga instructor, I constantly preach that material objects will never bring you happiness. I’ve seen it so many times around me and its all proof that the Yoga Sutras were right. Happiness comes from within. I would even go a step further from the study and say that experiences don’t make us happy unless your mind is in the right place. How many times have you been somewhere completely amazing and your mind was somewhere else entirely? Taking a trip to Bali doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about your next trip, job, significant other, or whatever other worry plagues you while you’re on the trip. If you’re constantly looking for the next best thing, you can’t ever enjoy this place and this time. As a result, depression sets in.
Yoga is no different. Materialism is all around us. Maybe you want the hottest new yoga pants, yoga mat, or perfect pedicured toes. Maybe you want to go on the most exclusive and most expensive yoga retreats. It’s all materialism, even hidden under the banner of yoga. Make sure your students know why they are there. Yoga is not about status and stuff, nor is any other form of holistic wellness. It’s about finding peace, and as a result, happiness from within.
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