Psychologist Dr Jeremy Dean quotes some interesting research at PsyBlog that suggests that materialistic people are more likely to be depressed and unsatisfied with life.
The Baylor University study finds that a focus on what you want — and therefore don’t currently have — makes it more difficult to appreciate what you already have.
Not surprisingly psychologists have consistently shown how important gratitude is for both life satisfaction and happiness.
The study’s lead author, Jo-Ann Tsang, explains:
“Gratitude is a positive mood. It’s about other people.
Previous research that we and others have done finds that people are motivated to help people that help them — and to help others as well.
We’re social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health.”
In contrast to the positive power of gratitude, materialism tends to make people unhappy
As one of the study’s co-authors, James Roberts, explains:
“Our ability to adapt to new situations may help explain why ‘more stuff’ doesn’t make us any happier.
As we amass more and more possessions, we don’t get any happier — we simply raise our reference point.
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.”
The authors quote the words of Greek philosopher Epicurus, who said:
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”