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Why Always Wanting More is Bad for You – and How to Quit!

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We live in a world of instant gratification. Everywhere you turn, messages bombard you that you deserve more, and anything that you want can arrive at your doorstep faster than ever before. But what if this idea isn’t true? What if always wanting more is bad for you – and if so, how can you quit?

In this day and age, it can seem like your happiness is dependent on always wanting for more, such as:

  • more money
  • more power
  • more respect
  • more clothes
  • more gadgets
  • more upgrades
  • more attention
  • and so much more…

But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if the answer isn’t to want more, but actually to want less?

A hand reaching out to a quote about how humans always want more

Why are you always wanting more?

1. Too much comparison

It seems like everything in our society is designed to compare yourself in some way.

It starts at birth when babies are compared to their age-and-gendered peers in terms of height, weight, and development. Academics, athletic prowess, and even your personality are measured and compared from elementary school to your last job.

It never stops!

The practice of comparing our looks, smarts, talents, and achievements has become second nature to us, so much so that a recent study found that 12% of our daily thoughts involved a comparison in some way.

Does it make us happy?

Only if we perceive ourselves as BETTER!

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Comparison is the Thief of Joy (and How to Quit)

2. Not enough gratitude

When you are grateful for what you have, you are much more likely to be satisfied with your life.

Gratitude is so important that studies suggest grateful people are happier, healthier, and live longer than less grateful people.

3. The false idea that more = happiness

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, more doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness or life satisfaction.

Your joy over time is relatively stable, and no matter what you buy or do, it tends to stay right there.

There’s even a psychological term for this: the Hedonic Treadmill.

This term was coined by Phillip Brickman and Donald T. Cambell in the essay “Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society” (1971) and it observed that humans have a psychological inclination to return to a relatively stable level of happiness, even following significant negative or positive events. (Wikipedia)

That’s actually GOOD because it goes to show you that it’s not external or material things that matter the most in life!

READ MORE: 20 Reasons You Are Enough in This Moment

Is always wanting more a bad thing?

Wanting more isn’t necessarily bad per se; if you want the RIGHT things!

It’s less about buying things and more about finding satisfaction in what you have, the people around you, and the experiences you participate in alone or as a family.

That’s where minimalism comes into play.

Living a minimalist lifestyle is so much more than having an empty house with white walls and no furniture – it’s about creating more space for the things that matter the most to you.

Here are things you can always want MORE of:

  • freedom
  • peace of mind
  • time to spend with your partner or kids
  • time for hobbies or activities you enjoy
  • choices
  • knowledge
  • relaxation
  • financial independence
  • exercise and better health
  • laughter
  • space in your home
  • etc.
People reaching for money, wanting for more

How to stop wanting more

1. Change your mindset

If you find it hard to stop wanting more, start changing your mindset to enjoy the “right” things.

You can embrace the less is more mindset by shifting your way of thinking to wants versus needs, you will prioritize what is truly important.

Let go of the idea that you always need to have the latest and greatest, the newest and shiniest – try looking at what you already have with gratitude instead of longing for something else.

2. Be grateful for what you have

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can help shift your focus from wanting more to being content with what you have.

You might consider keeping a gratitude journal or list.

Start by writing down five things you are grateful for each day, even if they seem minor.

As you become more aware of the good in your life, you will find it easier to be content with what you have and be more positive and satisfied.

RELATED POST: 7 Signs of Selfish People and How to Deal with Them

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

Studies indicate that materialistic people are more likely to make themselves unhappy by comparing their life to the people around them (read more about that here.)

It’s easy to get wrapped up in comparing yourself to others, especially if you spend time every day on social media. But doing this is a surefire way to make yourself feel bad and want more.

Instead of focusing on what other people have or how they look, focus on your own life and what makes you happy.

Stop comparing yourself to others and just be yourself.

4. Define what matters most to you 

Have you ever sat down and thought, really thought about your core values and beliefs?

When you know what’s important to you, it’s a lot easier to be intentional with your choices and set goals for yourself that align with those beliefs.

5. Challenge your bad habits

Bad habits become more significant and harder to change or control as time passes, so it’s better to address them now versus waiting until later.

Habits such as a shopping addiction or not sticking to your budget plan can add up to severe problems in the future.

If you want to change bad money habits, you might try to do a financial detox, such as a no-spend challenge or spending freeze.

Test the waters and see how it feels to save money instead of spending it. Here is a list of twenty bad money habits and how to change them if you need help with this.

A woman unhappy always wanting more things as a shopaholic

6. Clear your space

It’s no secret that a cluttered home can make you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and anxious, but not everyone realizes that there can be actual physical side effects to this.

Cluttered spaces are associated with increased cortisol levels, which over time can cause all sorts of issues like insomnia, depression, weight gain, digestive issues, and even headaches and heart problems!

Your home should be a sanctuary, somewhere you can go to relax and feel comfortable, so find ways to clear out the clutter and create more space and peace of mind for yourself. You can find more tips on how to declutter and de-stress when overwhelmed in this blog post.

Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it.

– Peter Walsh

7. Embrace the simple pleasures of life

It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of work, family, and other obligations. But there are simple pleasures all around us – like enjoying a hot cup of coffee on your porch or going for a walk at dusk with your dog.

What once might have been considered small things can impact our overall happiness levels. So look for opportunities to embrace the simple pleasures in your life.

More often than not, they are free and right there in plain sight.

READ MORE: 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Be Happier

Final thoughts on always wanting more

While it’s certainly not a bad thing to want more for ourselves, there is a danger in letting a quest for more consume us.

You can quickly lose sight of what’s important if you’re always looking ahead and never taking the time to appreciate what you have already.

There’s a saying that goes:

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift…that’s why they call it present”

― Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda

Take time to appreciate the gift of being present and grateful for the things you have in your life to experience true happiness right now.

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