Our consumer-driven culture seduces us daily with all sorts of reasons to buy the latest fashion, gadget, toy, game, and car. Advertising has us chasing product deals falsely tying our self-worth to some “thing.”
While consumerism may be good for the economy, is it really good for you? Do more toys or more clothes or more gadgets really make you happier? What really improves your well-being?
Research shows a correlation between low self-esteem and materialistic obsession.
While material items themselves are neither good nor bad, it’s their perceived attributed value or status that can lead to problems. Click to Tweet
Materialistic consumption not only has a negative psychological impact on our psyche, but it also impacts our landfill and the planet. We have become a throw-away society and dump 2.12 billion tons of waste in our landfills of which 99% of the stuff we buy is trashed within 6 months.
More stuff? Really?
The decluttering minimalist lifestyle is becoming a trend with bestselling books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, or Everything that remains: A Memoir by Millburn & Nicodemus who also have a Netflix documentary on minimalism.
What will truly improve your life and well-being?
How do you move from an experience of suffering to one that is thriving in more dimensions of your life?
Gallup researchers conducted a comprehensive study on well-being across 150 countries and asked people what “the best possible future” for them would look like. The two most commonly cited goals were “good health” and “wealth” to which the researchers attributed their popularity due to their ease in measurability. You can benchmark your health through key metrics such as weight, body mass index, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. You can immediately know your financial well-being based upon tangible financial assets. But how do you measure other areas of your life such as your career, community, or sense of belonging?
Consequently, Gallup created an assessment, the Well-Being Finder, from which five distinct areas of well-being emerged which transcend faith, culture, and nationality.
- Career Wellbeing
- Social Wellbeing
- Financial Wellbeing
- Physical Wellbeing
- Community Wellbeing
If you are doing well in all five of these areas, congratulations, you are among the 7%. Most of us, 66%, have conquered only one area of well-being leaving an opportunity to improve in the others.
A recent study conducted by the Gallup Organization, which has been studying subjective well-being for over 10-years, showed a decline in well-being from 2016 – 2017, lower than the recession in 2009. Twenty-states had statically significant declines from their prior year representing the largest drop in a single year. With the stock market at an all-time high and unemployment at a low, Americans are still unhappy.
So what can you do to improve your well-being?
Clean up your Surrounding Environment.
- What can you do to get rid of things that no longer serve you?
- Are you able to let go of the past and really purge items you haven’t used or worn in many years?
- What can you do right now to improve and clean-up your surroundings?
- Instead of buying something, what else could you do to feel more fulfilled and worthy that doesn’t involve a purchase?
- When you are about to purchase something do you evaluate it in terms of meeting a “need” or a “want”?
Improve Your Career Well-Being.
- How are you spending your day and are you doing things that matter to you?
- How are you cultivating your expertise?
- Are you in a career and an organization that aligns with your values?
- What is one thing you could do right now that supports your career well-being?
- What new projects could you take on that allows you to stretch and grow?
Enhance Your Social Well-Being.
- Do you ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation such as; “how do you feel about…?”, “what are your thoughts on…?”
- What can you do to limit or eliminate your exposure to toxic relationships?
- What is one action step you could take today to make one of your relationships even stronger?
- How are you expressing love and compassion to your friends and family?
- What might you do to practice a random act of kindness?
- Strengthen your Financial Well-Being.
- How are you managing your debt, savings, and earnings to support long-term goals?
- Could you weather a major unexpected financial setback?
- Are you in control of your finances?
- Are you living below your means?
- Are you able to enjoy your life because of the way you manage your finances?
Boost your Physical Well-Being.
- Are you taking care of your body?
- Are you eating nutritious meals to ensure you have energy?
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Are you active and engaged in physical exercise?
- Are you surrounding yourself with others who value health and wellness?
- Increase your Community Well-Being.
- How are you involved with your local community?
- What can you do to get to know your neighbors or neighborhood?
- How can you show or increase your support in your community?
- Are there ways you can volunteer, help a neighbor, mentor a youth, or organize an event in your area?
- What action steps can you take right now to increase your sense of belonging?
Below contains affiliate links where I may receive a small amount of money if you choose to purchase these books which would help support this blog.
Well Being: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Featured Image Photo Credit: Pixabay