The Intersection of Mental Health and Consumerism


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As soon as I started making my own money, I started buying things I didn't need, just to have them. I've hoarded makeup, nail polish, craft supplies, books, clothes — all at one point or another. These things often came at the cost of my financial health, but I am learning to be less materialistic.

I'm not sure where these habits came from. I guess if I don't try hard enough, marketing teams are pretty good at getting me to do what they want. After all, there are entire teams whose job is to trick you into buying something that you don't need.

Owning a lot of items is stressful. It causes me anxiety to think about buying new things.

Generally, commercials tell us that if we buy something, we will be happier. In today's age of depression, of course we are buying more things. We work so hard; how else can we relieve our stress than by treating ourselves?

There's nothing wrong with treating yourself. In fact, there's nothing wrong with treating yourself often, as long as you have the means for it. But there is something irresponsible about purchasing new items without any regard for their end-of-life. Unless you're composting it at the end of it, most of what you buy will end up in the trash at some point, and certainly when you die.

For many of us struggling with mental health issues, that's the least of our worries. And it is really wrong to buy new things to make ourselves feel better?

No...but it's better to make a commitment each time you buy something that you'll take care of that item for as long as possible. That way you don't end up with a massive pile of clothes every couple of years which are almost certainly going to end up in a landfill. You'll have fewer things to take care of, too.

There are plenty of ways to relieve stress without purchasing new items. Consider treating yourself to a workout class, a massage or a facial.

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