It’s very easy to get caught up in buying new things, whether it’s a new pair of shoes, a new car, or even a house. Believing that happiness can come from something you buy can be a very dangerous road to go down.
So let’s examine why buying something can convince someone that happiness can come from something that they buy. Keep in mind that the person who experiences a lot of stress or anxiety is craving a peaceful mind, a mind void of constant negative thoughts.
That’s why addiction to buying things can develop. It can develop because buying something new can temporarily and artificially calm their mind, which in this case depends on something external. So what does this mean? When someone buys something new, they feel a sense of satisfaction. They feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders, a little less tense, and relieved. This sensation is often confused with authentic happiness.
If buying material things can not create happiness, then what is this sensation of satisfaction that seems and feels like happiness? Buying something can create an artificial sensation of happiness by temporarily taking attention off negative thoughts because their thoughts are now concentrating on the new item they just purchased.
Let me explain. Let’s say you’re experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety. Although there are many causes of anxiety and stress, remember a major cause comes from our negative thoughts about situations, not from the situations themselves. What happens when you buy something new?
The second you buy something new, the newness of that item captures all of your attention. And if your attention is focused on what you just purchased, guess where your attention and your thoughts are not. You guessed it, your thoughts are not concentrating on something terrible that occurred in the past, negative thoughts, or fearing something that could potentially happen in the future, also negative thoughts. And if buying something can take your mind off of negative thoughts temporarily, then you can experience what I call an artificial sense of happiness.
This false sense of happiness is occurring because that new thing you just purchased is taking your attention off of your negative thoughts. But what happens a few days or weeks later when the newness of that object wears off? Once that material thing doesn’t capture your attention anymore, your negative thoughts can start to creep back into your mind. And then what can happen?
You can suddenly feel that impulse to buy something else. When you buy something else, you feel that temporary sense of satisfaction because your attention is now on something new. You feel lighter and satisfied. However, that satisfaction will swiftly disappear when the newness of that item wears off.
You can see how this soon becomes a vicious cycle of craving material things because of the illusion of happiness that can come with buying material things. Nothing you buy can create happiness, real happiness. You will often notice that those with an ample amount of money and material things are often the people who experience the most drama, stress, and anxiety. One of the biggest reasons we see so much anxiety and stress among those who seem to have it all is simply because they have it all. When someone has fame or fortune, unless they are cautious, then they can stop appreciating the little things in life.
Is buying lots of things necessarily bad? Of course not. We just need to understand that happiness doesn’t come from something we buy. Money doesn’t create happiness. Material things cannot create happiness. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a state of being. There is a peace that lives within us all. To find that peace, we need to shut off the noise inside of our minds.