• Kaitlyn Parrow

How to Stop Focusing on the Material Things in Life

Let’s face it: we're all guilty of consumerism! We like material things. We buy things, they make us happy for a little while, and then eventually, they end up at the back of our closet, long-forgotten. So, why do we do it? Why do we continue to purchase material things that we don’t actually need? Here’s how to stop focusing on the material things in your life.

Why We Focus on Material Things

We live in a society driven by consumption. We are always being pushed to buy the newest electronics, the trendiest clothing, and ultimately, the bigger and better things (see: greed). The constant influx of new products keeps us wanting more.

The truth is, there's always going to be a better version of something you already own, so why not let go of that materialistic mentality and be happy with what you have?

According to wellness advocate Dr. Jameelah Medinnatells, “Seeking more and more can lead one to never be satisfied and to always look for something more, bigger, better, faster, newer, and nicer.” Simply stated, striving to obtain material items can turn into an endless cycle of buying and then searching some more—and who wants to live like that? You only have one life, after all!

Fortunately, there are quite a few ways you can stop focusing so much on the material things and put that energy towards something else.

Escaping Materialism

Living a less materialistic lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go on a cleaning spree and get rid of everything you own; instead, it means you need to shift your focus from material possessions.

Think about it this way: if a thief were to break into your house and steal random items (excluding expensive or obvious ones), you probably wouldn’t even realize most of what was taken!

Tips to Stop Focusing on Material Things:

  • Declutter. First and foremost, it's important to go through your belongings and get rid of things you don’t use anymore. That shirt you've had stashed away for just the right occasion? Donate it! Those magazines you still have sitting on your coffee table? Recycle them! A good rule to live by is: if you haven’t used or worn that item in the past year, get rid of it.

  • Value experience over objects. Think about a vacation for example: you talk to your friends about how excited you are to get away, you go on your trip, and finally, you get back and reminisce over the new places you got to experience! These memories will last you a lifetime while material things, on the other hand, will not.

  • Refrain from browsing the Internet. Bored? Pick up a book! Learn a new hobby! Do anything to keep yourself from “just looking” at your favorite store. We both know that this will only increase your desire to purchase something you don't really need.

  • Use a 30-day list. If you still really feel the need to buy something (non-essential of course), write it down on a list along with the date. It’s going to be difficult, but nothing you can’t handle. Once 30 days have passed, go back to that list. If you still want it, go ahead and buy it! Most of the time our urges to buy something will pass during this period of time.

Ultimately, learning how to stop focusing on the material things actually brings more value into your life. As life coach Angela Winfiled said, “When you aren’t materialistic, you are able to be truly and deeply connected to your work and your life.”

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