The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Americans Spend More in the Search for Happiness—And It's Not Working

Americans Spend More in the Search for Happiness—And It's Not Working - Lifestyle - GOOD:

What Recession?  The National Retail Federation estimated that as many as 152 million people braved wild crowds to shop on Black Friday yesterday, 14 million people more than in 2010. 

Research shows that Americans' spending has increased over the past few decades as people literally try to buy happiness. Unsurprisingly, it's not working.

“Shopping is like a drug,” says James Roberts, a marketing professor at Baylor University. 
“Our brain releases chemicals producing feelings of pleasure, and we can get addicted to those feelings. 
But money and material possessions will not bring you happiness, and not only that, they can cause more harm than good.”
Roberts' book: 
Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy.
Roberts says many problems come back to our nation’s attitude toward material possessions.

“Our spending is a reflection of our increased materialism,” Roberts says. “When we are materialistic our priorities become possessions and not people. What I don't think people understand is that the impact of materialism goes well beyond just our pocketbook.”

Roberts’ explains that human beings are hardwired to prefer short-term rewards over long-term ones. 
That ingrained attitude combined with our nation’s increasing focus on the importance of stuff as a value is a recipe for disaster...

Roberts doesn’t have much hope that the economic downturn will change people's habits.