How To Want Less? Full Guide

how to want less

It is safe to say that for many people in today’s world, consumerism is a way of life. You are undoubtedly involved in the ongoing buying and selling of modern life, even if you are not consciously doing so. We think we’ll feel better whenever we secure them, which is why we spend so much energy wanting them.

Of course, they never fulfill our expectations of happiness. Ultimately, we just want something else next. But there are times when it’s enough. We should eventually stop constantly wanting more and start being content with what we already have. How then can we want less while being happier?

Keep reading to find out the answers.

Why Do We Want So Much?

There are two good answers to this:

Brain Chemistry

As Arthur writes, “our brains are programmed to prevent us from enjoying anything for very long.” The reason for this is that they are a part of our bodies, and our bodies desire to remain in a stable state.

Our brains quickly neutralize stimuli in an effort to facilitate that. When we first feel something, whether it’s good or bad, we often feel it very strongly. However, the second and third times we experience the same thing, we feel it less strongly.

Because of this, the wonderful feeling that comes with success can only be matched over time by consistently exceeding expectations. which is impossible to continue.

Survival Of The Fittest

An evolutionary problem also exists here. Before we had smartphones and indoor plumbing and, I don’t know, agriculture, we were programmed to compete for resources. Here, we’re discussing the necessities: food, shelter, and friends.

Because those instincts are hard-wired, when our basic needs are satisfied, as they are for the majority of us, we direct our competitive nature toward other things like achievements.

how to want less

This means that our instincts are working against us. When we needed to gather resources to survive, the competition was helpful, but it wasn’t so helpful when trying to find happiness.

The More You Want It, The Less You Like It

According to an intriguing study by Uzma Khan, when people were given the opportunity to receive a reward of some kind—say, a watch—but were later denied it, their desire to receive the reward increased. Sounds pretty unsurprising, no?

The real kicker is here though. Even though they wanted it more when they finally received the reward they had been denied, they ended up disliking it!

Crazy, right?

The Impact Of Wanting Something More

People in the study who were initially passed over for the watch desired it more than those who received it. However, once they had it, they were more likely to eventually get rid of it.

In fact, in a related experiment, those who had been denied their reward were three times more likely to give it away than those who had received it initially.

So what does this mean?

The Dark Side Of Materialism

The insight that the things you want might not be the things you will actually enjoy having is a valuable one in this era of relentless advertising.

It’s not particularly good for our mental health to feel that we are lacking something or incomplete because of our desire for material possessions. But having “things” does not always equate to happiness, and even when you do, you might find that it wasn’t worth it in the end.

How To Want Less?

Not as simple as it sounds, finding contentment is enough. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking at the most recent video game or some expensive outfit.

How do we cultivate contentment? How can we teach ourselves to be happy with “enough”?

Gratitude Journal

If you didn’t already know, gratitude journals are diaries where you list all the things in your life that you are grateful for and happy about.

We can overcome our innate human tendency to concentrate only on the negatives by forcing ourselves to think about the good things going on around us. This will not only help us to be more content with what we already have, but studies from Harvard have shown that journaling in this way can also help to promote healthy behaviors like exercise!

Reflection And Meditation

I almost always mention the potential benefits of meditation in the articles I write for Tracking Happiness. It is a practice that seems to have countless advantages, which is made even more impressive by how simple it is to access. Anyone can meditate.

While meditation is not a panacea for mental health, it is a good place to start. If keeping a journal isn’t your thing, just make an effort to pause occasionally, take a deep breath, and consider all the good things in your life.

You can learn what you have and what you actually, genuinely need by simply taking some time out of your day to consider the state of your life.

A lot of times, you’ll discover that you already possess everything you need in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. It is very powerful just to come to that realization.

Manage Your Expectations And Desires

Sometimes our desires are unfounded; we don’t know why we have them or what we hope to gain from them once we do.

how to want less

Therefore, it is crucial that we consider the reasons behind our initial desires. Why do you desire financial success? Do you actually have a plan for all that money, or are you just wishing for it? What purpose does your desire to be wealthy serve?

If we want to learn how to be happy with less, we need to be asking ourselves these kinds of questions on a regular basis.

A powerful experience that may alter your relationship with material possessions and the possession of unnecessary items is realizing that the things you want are not actually that important to you or that you don’t really have any reason for wanting them.

Make A Reverse Bucket List

Don’t consider the things on your bucket list that you want to experience. As an alternative, consider the factors that make you happy.

Think about how peaceful your life will be in five years, advises Arthur. Then ask yourself: What is that calmness I feel?

I must admit that’s something I consider frequently. People frequently ask me how long I can maintain my current workload—which includes the magazine, the podcasts, the book, and numerous other projects—and the truth is that I can’t.

But that’s OK because I don’t want to sustain it forever. I’m taking advantage of a unique opportunity in my career to establish a solid foundation for my future. I know what it’s for.

Get Smaller

Instead of getting caught up in the overwhelming, fleeting sensations that will inevitably pass, pay attention to the smaller things around you.

I’ll be honest; I can’t always manage that. I’ve participated in meditations where the teacher, for instance, asked participants to notice their fingers and toes, and I literally have no idea what they are asking us to do. However, that’s okay because I discovered another approach.

Be The Change You’re Seeking

It’s a myth that happiness will materialize in the future. Instead of waiting to acquire whatever it is you believe you need to be happy, start creating it right away.

If you believe that having more fulfilling work would make you happier, try volunteering somewhere. Call a friend, make some plans, and reach out to new people if you feel like you need more connections to be content.

If you think that having more money will make you happier, you won’t be able to make that happen right away. However, you can always create whatever it is that you’re trying to acquire. Join an adventure club if that’s what you want. If it involves travel, search online for a cheap travel package.

You have a lot of power to live a life that feels fulfilling right now, at this moment—not someday, in a very specific reality, you’ve committed yourself to create—when you’re willing to be creative and proactive.

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