Consumerism is bad for our mental health, whoever you are and whatever your background. The constant bombardment of new, shinier and ‘better’ things being marketed to us encourages us to feel eternally incomplete. And the trouble is, this marketing is inescapable. Advertising has become an intrinsic part of our days, therefore the marketing we receive is daily, often several times a day. And it isn’t just billboards or TV ads that remind us of what we’re lacking, since social media has turned our world into one populated by walking, talking ads. These ads we are excessively exposed to cause us to remain under the (false) impression that we need more in order to be happy, because in our current state we are too ‘old’, too ‘poor’, too ‘fat’, too everything. Therefore instead of pursuing genuine happiness, people are increasingly turning to material objects, thanks to the ads telling us they are our source of everlasting joy. Note to anyone reading this: THEY ARE NOT. ADS LIE.
It should come as no surprise then, to read that today’s capitalist society prioritises money above all else, with mental health proving to be no exception to this unfair but unavoidable way of life. The only way people feel they can be happy is by buying things. ‘How can people afford to buy so many new things so regularly’, you might wonder? Well, they strive to make more money to buy ‘just one more thing’ that will give them a fleeting rush of joy. When that fleeting feeling disappears, as it always does, and far sooner than we’d like it to, we seek replacements for our material goods. Does this sound familiar? Anything else come to mind? Drug addicts? Alcoholics? You could say that the capitalist society we inhabit is a ‘dealer’, supplying us with the goods we need to maintain our addictions, becuase, ultimately, consumption to an excess is undoubtebly just that, an addiction.
Aside from being detrimental to our mental health, consumerism is also incredibly harmful for the planet. Higher levels of consumpion requires larger inputs of energy which generates a large quantity of waste byproducts, leading to extremely damaging greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere.
Bringing such negativity to all aspects of our personal lives, as well as often irreversible destruction to wider society and our planet as a whole, everyone should unite to fight against consumerism. We should strive to rebel against the subliminal marketing messages being exposed to us by refusing to hand our money over so freely to such morally corrupt organisations. When we do choose to part with our money, we should seek to find environmentally friendly businesses who are committed to engaging in sustainable practices to preserve our planet. Where we can, we should consider buying second-hand, whether that be from charity/thrift shops, or from online marketplaces such as Ebay. This gives perfectly good, quality items that would have otherwise gone to landfill a second chance. What’s more, charity shop shopping is fun, and you never know what bargains you will find. So, next time you need, sorry, want, a new phone, think to yourself; ‘does it really have to be brand new?’ Do your bit. Abolish the damaging culture of consumerism. Save the planet, and, yourself…