Mind Over Matter: How to Live Happier With Less

By: Eman Elshahawy

In a capitalist society you see the disparities among socio-economic classes daily. If you’ve ever peeked across the street and seen your neighbor Bill’s Ghost Rolls Royce parked in his driveway and then compared it with your pre-owned Prius in your garage, you’ve experienced this.

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I’m not condemning capitalism— for it has instilled many benefits in the United States for growth and development. But the stark differences between the haves and the have nots, can’t go unnoticed in our country and ultimately affects our minds.

Fundamentally, those who work hard in our country, in higher skill-set jobs, are incentivized accordingly. However, the concept of equal opportunity is undermined by the fact that we can’t choose the pre-embedded societal constructs and regional policies we’re born into. In addition, race, gender and religion are other cultural components that exist that can influence the opportunities provided to an individual.

Since we can’t get away from luxury goods being shoved in our faces through the media and the society around us, we need to learn that material things don’t matter. As long as we have our essential needs met, we’re able to live a long and prosperous life. Gratitude is key to happiness. Be thankful for what you do have and don’t dwell on what you don’t. In our mind we have wants and needs. Being able to distinguish between the two and be appreciative for the positive things you do have can really shift your outlook on life and make you happier in the long run.