Here we are again – it’s the holidays. We are already being bombarded by ads online, on TV, in the paper, on buses, even in bathroom stalls to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. Buy, buy, buy and you will be happy.
But what we know is that consuming does not make us happy.
It provides us a sense of satisfaction for a moment and then we are on to the next thing looking to feel filled-up.
Don’t buy it! Literally and figuratively.
The literature on happiness gives us an important perspective.
- Money does not buy happiness but enough money to live comfortably and own things that make our lives move smoothly does make a difference.
If you don’t have enough money to feel safe and have what you need, finding opportunities to increase your income may be important in the New Year.
- Things do not bring happiness, in fact, owning more things than you can use and appreciate can interfere with happiness.
If you are cluttered with things, consider clearing the clutter in the New Year and keep around you only those things you really like and enjoy.
- Good, respectful, caring connection does bring happiness and health benefits.
If you don’t have good, respectful, caring connections in your life, spend some time in the new year looking at ways to meet people who will enrich your life and who’s life you will enrich.
- Meaningful work and regular challenge are good for happiness.
We encourage people to review their work lives once a year to assess if they are doing work that is meaningful in ways that are satisfying. If not, consider how you can create more satisfaction in your current work or how you can discover what other opportunities are out there that will increase your sense of meaning and satisfaction.
And, whether in work or outside of work, make sure you are learning, growing, and being challenged regularly. If you are not, consider a class, a group in your community or your church, or an activity that will stretch you in ways that are good for your soul and your intellect.
This season when it’s tempting to believe those new boots or that new car or the remodel will make you happy, ask yourself to pause. In the space of the pause, decide if you really need what you are about to buy and how it will serve you. If it will serve you, buy it. Just don’t expect the purchase to bring you happiness. Then in each of the areas above, make sure that you are paying attention to those things that can genuinely bring you joy.