Pursuit of money and possessions takes time away from more personally fulfilling activities and social relationships, making you unhappier in the process, suggest researchers.

"Cooling the consumption-driven economy, working less and consuming less are better for the environment and better for humans, too," said Miriam Tatzel from Empire State College, State University of New York in US.

Positive psychology, or the study of happiness, well-being and quality of life, provides the answers to what really brings happiness to consumers, Tatzel said in her presentation of overview of psychological research.
Several studies have determined that people's basic psychological needs include competence, autonomy, positive relationships, self-acceptance and personal growth.

Materialism is not only bad for the environment, it is bad for consumers' well-being too, Tatzel added.
"People's wants escalate as they tire of what they have and they want something else, which in turn leads to more consumption and more waste in landfills, more energy consumed and more carbon emitted into the atmosphere," she said.

"The larger the gap between what one wants and what one has, the greater the dissatisfaction. Less materialism equals more happiness," she added.

According to the researcher, people are more likely to be happy by cultivating personal talents and relationships more than money and fame, and by having an independent sense of self that results in not caring much what others think of their possessions.

The presentation was made at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

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