COSMO girls have a lot going on: things to do, people to see, objects to buy… And while we assume that packing it all in enriches our existence, it actually has the opposite effect. ‘Overabundance, whether it’s a surplus of stuff, commitments, or even mental clutter, can have a negative effect on your quality of life,’ says psychology professor, Dr Tal Ben-Shahar. ‘You get so overloaded that you fail to enjoy the simple pleasures right in front of you.’
Proof: Even though people are wealthier and have more choices than ever before, studies find they’re also more unsatisfied and depressed. The remedy? Realising that, when it comes to what brings happiness, less is more. We’re not just talking about purging material things (though that’s one part), but about letting go of excess worry, obligations and relationships that drain you. Here’s how to unburden to find bliss.
Don’t think: Name the happiest you’ve been in the last year. You probably didn’t say ‘Looking at my great shoes,’ even if they’re your most prized possession. ‘Research has found that once people’s basic needs are met, having more stuff doesn’t increase happiness,’ says psychologist Dr Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness (Vintage). Cut down on clutter and you’ll have more room to enjoy yourself. Try this: