Society and Family Stressed

There has been a social trend in the richer parts of the world towards acquiring material assets over happiness. By way of media we are encouraged towards self-interest over interest in others and the spirit of the community, at least in the friendliest ways. As we increasingly devote our life efforts to acquiring more goods and services we are often in competition with friends, fellow workers and neighbors, wishing and striving for something new or better. We may want to be cool in the eyes of all that will regard us, and they might have similar aspirations.

If we struggle to earn more to acquire more we may be depriving ourselves of sufficient casual fun time with friends and most importantly, family. Along with this desire for more and better things comes more stress into our lives and into the lives of those around us. The family may become more fractured as we work long hours and the kids watch more TV programs and play video games. In this environment they will become even more commercialized than their parents, as marketing whets their appetites for more stuff.

Are we too busy doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons?

There are tremendous influences to continue along this path as it generates more corporate and personal profits which society has become so accustomed to 'need'. So we strive and stress on for new false achievements losing out on some true basic and pleasant experiences in life.

If we are in this endless routine we should consider what Marcus Aurelius had to say 1800 years ago, "Think of what you have rather than of what you lack. Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them."

In other words it's a merry-go-round that we do not need to be on and should consider jumping from.

Geela Author at "The American Dream" asks
"From environmental pollution to spiritual pollution, from artificial food to artificial joy - these are the side effects of the pursuit of materialism (a by-product of the American Dream, as we know it). Today, everything is fair game in the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain and personal responsibility, not to mention the absence of morality and a wholesome values system.?"

Tackling this problem as a whole society seems rather hopeless at this point in time as it is so entrenched, but there are ways. One suggestion is directing the young towards achieving happiness in lieu of buying more.

In Battling the roots of materialism by focusing on happiness Penny Nickel cites a study which "appears to suggest that even though many young people think having consumer goods is what makes them happy, if they start to feel better about themselves their focus will shift to non-materialistic priorities like friends and family. In other words, if a teen you know is begging for pricey items, you may be better off spending more quality time with them-- boosting their self-esteem, and thus increasing their relative appreciation of your company compared to the material goods-- rather than spending that extra time earning the money to buy them what they want."

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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