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happiness (is not) for sale!

Did you know that you can buy happiness? Yep, according to some of the latest product slogans, happiness is just a purchase away. Since I've started this blog -- a little happiness project of my own -- my eyes and ears have been open for everything involving happiness, positivity, and/or personal development. I love coming across new books or blog, new quotes or comments. In particular, I spend a great deal of time thinking about happiness. Happiness, as I've discussed many times before, comes from within. Things and experiences can buy you happiness, but it's a different type of happiness. That type of happiness is brief. Very brief. So brief that I'm not even sure if it's really happiness. It's more of a rush or a filled-up feeling. It is not the same as actually being happy. But happiness seems to be used a lot to sell things. A lot, a lot, a lot! One thing I've noticed pretty often lately is the number of slogans using the word "happy" or "happiness" to sell. Here are some of the latest and greatest:

Open happiness. (Coca-Cola)

Drive happy. (Alamo Car Rental)

Help yourself to happiness. (Golden Corral)

Happy starts inside. (Minute Maid)

Make your body happy. (Aquafina)

Snack happy. (Nabisco)

Unleash the happiness. (Pizza Hut)

Make your mouth happy. (Twizzlers)

Come hungry. Leave happy. (IHOP)


These are just the slogans I've seen recently. I'm sure there are countless slogans involving the idea that we can purchase happiness, as if it's a tangible thing we can hold on to. Personally, I'm of the belief that happiness -- real, lasting happiness -- is not something that can be purchased. You won't really be happier if you crack open a can of Coke. You won't really drive happier if you rent a car from Alamo instead of Hertz. And, if you're not already happy, you won't leave IHOP really feeling happier then when you went in.

Happiness, for me, is important. Maybe because it's hard for me to grasp a lot of the time. Maybe because I have a burning desire to live a happy life. But, for whatever reason, I value happiness. Therefore, I'm a bit irked by these slogans (and the countless other advertisements that use happy images and ideas to sell their products). Sure, it makes sense. Of course advertisers want you to believe that you'll be happier if you purchase their product. And, in reality, you might be happier -- for a short time. But the happiness that comes with external purchases is bad news because it perpetuates the idea that we can (and should) buy happiness, that happiness is something outside of us that has to be obtained.

Okay, before we go on, I'll come clean. I'm a shopaholic. Not that "oh-I-like-clothes" kind. I'm talking the "at-the-mall-at-least-4-or-5-times-a-week" kind. I'm talking spending more on a handbag than some spend on their entire wardrobes. I'm talking buying jeans when I already have over a dozen of pairs (that I actually wear) in my closet. I'm talking shopping problem. Not normal. Not acceptable. And definitely not good for my bank account. Take this quiz to see if you have a shopping problem too. (FYI, I answered "true" to 8 of the 10 questions. Yikes!)

So, if I have a problem, why do I shop? To be happy of course! There is a rush I get from picking out a great new outfit or an adorable pair of shoes. I love the feeling I get when a new item catches my eye and it's in my size. It literally is a euphoric rush, drug-like and intoxicating. Because it's such a pleasant feeling, I seek it often. It seems much less destructive than drinking or doing drugs or spending time with people who are no good for me, so I allow myself to do it. I tell myself that I've earned it. After all, we can't be expected to give up all of our vices, can we?

The plan today was not to talk about my shopping addiction (though that's somehow crept its way into this post, hasn't it!). The plan is to talk about the idea of happiness in relation to purchasing things. I don't know about you, but up until recently I've secretly believed things would make me happy. I want to say that I didn't believe that, that I was too smart to believe something so silly, but it's true. I'm guilty of believing that a purchase or an experience would bring me that much closer to happiness. And, for brief periods of time, I let that belief become so strong that I actually felt happier after buying or eating or doing something. But the feeling was fleeting, as that type of happiness so often is. Real happiness, lasting happiness, is not for sale -- yet we're constantly faced with the idea that it is.

How should we deal with this? It's not easy (especially for someone like me) to battle the idea that I will be happier if I buy this or that. I want to believe it. It makes it easier. But it's not healthy and it's not true. And who wants to live their whole life believing in a fairytale of happiness? No, not me. I want the real thing. And I'm getting there, slowing but surely...but I'm going to need some help. I'm going to need a plan. A simple, two-step plan, like this one:

  1. Come up with reasons why happiness should be not for sale to remind me that I'm really not buying "happy" when I buy new things.
  2. Create an incentive to stop all of my needless shopping by reminding myself how I can create happiness for free. (I can hear my credit cards breathing a sigh of relief right now.)

Here we go...after some careful thought and deliberation...My two-step plan is complete! I hope that if you suffer from any type of shopping problem, you'll learn from and benefit from these two lists. If you're all set with your shopping habits, I hope you'll still take a moment to read these and think about how happiness really shouldn't be for sale. And feel free to add your own ideas and thoughts in the comments! I'd love to hear about whether you agree or disagree with this post.


5 Reasons We Shouldn't Sell Happiness

  1. Selling happiness teaches us that happiness is outside of our control.

    When we believe, as some of us do, that we have to buy something in order to be happy, we begin to feel helpless. Having to purchase something or eat something or experience something to be happy leaves happiness out of our hands. That out-of-control feeling can take over and, in an attempt to quell those anxious feelings, we buy newer and better things, certain those will make us happy. But they won't. Nothing will make you happy in the way that you can make yourself happy and buying things to achieve happiness will only leave you feeling more out of touch with your personal sense of joy.

  2. Selling happiness promotes a materialistic way of living.

    The more we associate happiness with things, the more things we'll want to buy. It makes perfect sense, right? If you get a small burst of happy from buying something, you'll want to buy another thing if you can. (At least, this is what happens to me all the time.) The more we see happiness promoted in advertisements, the more we'll think that we need the things they are selling to be happy. Since SO many advertisements use images of happiness to sell products (try to find more than a few that don't!), we are inundated with this concept all the time. It's hard not to be materialistic when most of us desperately want happiness and we see all of these happy people with all of these things that apparently make them happy. Don't buy in!

  3. Selling happiness leads to compulsive shopping issues.

    Okay, this isn 't a fact. It's my humble opinion that there is probably a close link between desiring happiness and compulsive shopping disorders. When someone (like me!) wants so badly to be happy and sees all of these happy people buying things (even though s/he knows better than to believe these things really bring happiness), it's hard to resist the temptation to shop and shop and shop -- especially when the notion of happiness is seemingly achieved after each purchase. That little rush you get when you buy something just confirms the idea that a thing makes you happy. But, remember, it doesn't. YOU make you happy.

  4. Selling happiness limits individual happiness potential.

    Let's say you think that you can buy happiness. You see all of the commercials. You see all of the happy, happy people with their brightly colored shopping bags at the mall. You want happiness too. But you don't have any money. You might feel (and, again, this isn't necessarily a fact) that you don't have the potential to be as happy as those people. I've heard (and believe) that as long as you are living above poverty level, the amount of money you make doesn't make you any happier. So I'm not talking about being on-the-street poor here. I'm talking about your everyday person who can't afford the latest and greatest items on the market. If that person believes that happiness is a commodity and s/he cannot afford to purchase it, where does that leave his or her happiness potential?

  5. Selling happiness creates a lot of unhappiness.

    Tying in with #4 is this concept. It sounds odd, but selling happiness, marketing it as something that comes with the item/meal/experience you're buying, actually causes unhappiness. (Yes, this is another Dani fact.) Why? Because, while you may get a rush from your purchase, you won't be any happier when you own your new iPod/home/car/clothes. You'll still be you, experiencing the same level of happiness you were before, and that can be a serious letdown. You might look at your recently purchased item and think, "Why don't I feel as good as I should now that I have this?" (Or, even worse, you might ask, "Why do I feel so bad now that I have this?") Relying on things to make you happy actually makes you very unhappy, which is why we shouldn't use happiness as a selling tool. 

5 Ways To Create Happiness For FREE!

  1. Create happiness by sharing happy experiences with others.

    Spend time with a beloved pet doing something silly.
    Interact with people you don't know and make new friends.
    Join a club or start one that focuses on something you love.
    Tell someone about a great book, song, or film.
    Share a hilarious joke or website with your friends.

  2. Create happiness by learning more about yourself.

    Read great blogs and websites about personal development.
    Tell someone a personal story about your life you've never shared.
    Share who you are with your friends or online via social media.
    Experience new things and write about in a journal or blog.
    Go to a highly recommended therapist and explore who you are.

  3. Create happiness by focusing on the positive in your life.

    Look for the good in yourself -- no matter how crummy you feel.
    Ask yourself "What is awesome here?" in every situation (even bad ones).
    Think often about the people support, love, and encourage you.
    Handle relationships with care; they are fragile and should be treated well.
    Tell those around you how much you love and need them.

  4. Create happiness by giving (not spending) your money.

    Donate to a local (or national...or international) charity.
    Give away old clothes, books, cell phones, etc. to those in need.
    Buy something nice for a friend who can't afford it (if you can).
    Slip a few dollar bills into the cup of the homeless guy/girl on the side of the road.
    Set up an automatic donation to your favorite organization. (So easy!)

  5. Create happiness by donating your time to those in need.

    Help a colleague out with a boring or difficult task.
    Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or charity.
    Attend a charity event. (It's fun and a great way to donate!)
    Offer to help someone with something you're good at.
    Ask your grandparents/neighbors/etc. if they need help with anything.


So now that we all know why I think happiness shouldn't be for sale, we're all going to write letters and sign petitions to fight off the use of happiness in all advertisements, right? Haha, okay, I know, that's just a bit ridiculous. I know why advertisers use happiness. Obviously, we all want to be happy so why not use that very common, very universal desire to sell? It makes perfect sense. I get it. If I were in advertising I'd use it all the time. In fact, I probably do use it in a way on this blog. It's not as if I say you'll be happier if you read it, but I bet someone could argue that's the point I'm trying to make. Anyway, not everything's about me (though it keeps turning into that today!). What this is about is realizing that things -- external, materialistic things -- cannot make you happier. Sure, you might get a rush from them, but you will not, in the long run, be happier. Shop all you want. Buy whatever you want. But be aware of the advertising industry and it's use of happiness. Make sure you're buying things because you need or really want them and not because you think that your next purchase will include a side of happiness. So, readers...

What do you think?

Should we sell happiness?

How can we create happiness for free?

Writing this post took a lot out of me for some reason today. I have so much to say on the subject that I just couldn't seem to organize it all into a collective, sense-making post. What helped a great deal with this was reading about what it means to purchase happiness. Here are some articles you might find interesting. (I especially recommend Gretchen Rubin's post on 8 Tips for How Money Can Buy Happiness ...very interesting!) 

How Money Can Buy Happiness

7 Ways To Buy Happiness

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Buying Happiness

8 Tips for How Money Can Buy Happiness


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Money and happiness is one of my favorite topics. I've written about it in my blog on a number of occassions.

Your confession of being a shopoholic is an interesting one. I can see why a shopoholic would desperately want to run away from the idea that money can buy happiness. You equate money and the notion of buying happiness with material things. The rush of buying a new handbag, looking pretty with it, and hoping to get compliments from your friends. Okay, I get that sort of happiness is fleeting.

But what about buying life experiences? More money means that you can afford a dog. Dogs are expensive luxuries, but bring lots of happiness. More money means you can afford better healthcare. More money means you can afford to live in a safe neighborhood. More money means you can take up horseback riding. More money means you can travel to different countries, or just travel to visit your grandparents. More money means you can donate more to your favorite charities. Why would you spend $50 for a new handbag, when you could give $50 to a local charity? Money isn't the problem, it's what you choose to do with it.

Isn't funny how these companies use happiness in their marketing campaigns? It's probably a worthwhile effort (have a Coke and a smile) but I don't think buying these products will have much impact on anyone's true happiness.


Thanks for being open about being a shopaholic!

I think there is a distinction between happiness and pleasure. You can buy a brief moment of pleasure - food, clothes, a movie, and so on. But happiness comes from inside ourselves and can't be purchased.

This post was a real eye-opener for me. I think being a shopaholic is the same as any kind of adiction: gambling, alcoholism, sugar, sex, etc. It's basically too much of a good thing. It ends up consuming you.

I think the key is staying true to who you are and not being swayed by the mixed messages from the external world. I completely agree: happiness must be internal, not external.

Terrific perpsective. Those buying such products arent likely expecting happiness at each purchase, but if they are duped into "having it all equals happiness", then they may well be sobbing in their pile of merhcandise, wondering why on earth they arent happy. Interesting how so mony of the products revolve around food... no need to wonder about obesity, and false relationships. Thanks to the timecommander's tweet for sending me here.

Great post. And many good ideas. Thanks.

I believe, it simply boils down to this...if you lost your shoes and you lost your friend...which one would make you more sad??? If it's the got a problem.

I love this post...

The way advertisers equate buying stuff with happiness drives me crazy.

Roger brings up an interesting concept...happiness vs. pleasure. Happiness to me, is long lived and sustaining and pleasure eventually leaves me wanting more and more...and then setting me up for disappointment.

Your other blog is amazing. What a journey you have been on. As I am getting older and a bit wiser...I find that happiness resides in the small things. To give my time, to be grateful, being nice to others, enjoying a hobby, napping...I could go on and on.

I also meant to cannot buy happiness! I have tried and it just creates a bigger hole of despair... How's that for a happy thought! :)

Hi Dani,
I've found, over the years, that things really don't buy happiness. Not that I was ever a shop a holic, but still - I've purchased my share of things that I didn't need.

I've really embraced this idea the last couple of years - that happiness is not about having more but about really listening to your heart more.

So, in listening to my heart - I'm more able to deeply connect with what matters to me. And in so doing, I find joy reigns!

Happiness will continue to be sold, I'm sure. People will continue to buy it - happiness sells. Most people like to be happy. Although, I completely agree that this is not a lasting happiness. And not the kind we should be seeking. That's not to say that something can't be a tool to happiness. For instance, if I like running and get much joy from it (I do) - then indirectly, the shoes I buy help the experience of happiness I get. It's not the shoes, though, that make me happy. It's that they help me to do something from which I find joy. An important distinction, I believe.

This weekend we created happiness with a ball, and four rocks - things we had in our garage and yard. We had a family kickball game - and there was happiness had by all!

Okay. I know this is a very serious post, and you have some serious things to say and some great points to make... But. BUT.

"Help yourself to happiness. (Golden Corral)"

HAVE YOU HAD THEIR YEAST ROLLS?? I mean, I wanted to hate that place (and I pretty much mostly do) but THOSE ROLLS. Really. Break me off a piece of that. And then do it again about a million times!

I believe happiness is priceless! We can't put a price on it and we can't buy it.
I believe happiness is a choice and it comes from within.

Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect action is better than No Action

I used to have a shopping problem, but I learned that I was trying to fill an emotional void with material things rather than positive emotions and outlooks, love, peace, self-acceptance. I no longer have the shopping problem. So for me, getting at the root of why I did it and why the "high" was fleeting turned me to finding sources within to create real happiness.

I always love your posts, Dani.


Hi Dani. I dunno, when I open a can of Coke it makes me happy :-) Temporarily. It probably makes the Coke manufacturers happier than I though. The best happiness is free... I agree you can't realistically sell happiness. This only keeps people from cultivating it themselves. Keeps them dependent on an outside source for their happiness. That is sad.

Vi - You make some great points. I love my dog to death and she definitely was expensive. I think you hit the nail on the head about the fact that money isn't the problem -- it's what you DO with it that can be problematic.

Melissa - I definitely get why they do it -- it works! But the more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized how negative the effect is on the concept of happiness. Buying the products definitely won't impact TRUE happiness.

Roger - Excellent point! That's exactly what I was trying to explain at the beginning of the post, but couldn't find the word. Pleasure is temporary, but happiness is permanent. Thank you for this comment!

Dana - So true! We have to remember to focus on what's inside and not be swayed by external images.

TrinaMb - Great point about how so many of them revolve around food. Food is great, don't get me wrong, and we need it to survive, but will it bring about true, lasting happiness? I don't think so. Thank you, timecommander! :)

Syd - Thank you! And you're welcome.

Dawn - Great question! If I lost my shoes, I wouldn't care, but if I lost my friend I would be distraught...which means I should spend less time shopping and more time with the people I love!

Vered - Me too! It's amazing how often it happens and I understand why they do it (it works!) but I don't like it one bit!

Caroline - Yes, Roger's point was a good one. And I like what you've written about the small things. There are so many wonderful ways to find happiness in life that don't revolve around material possessions. And, yes, it's not possible to buy happiness! I've been trying and trying too. ;)

Lance - Thank you for the comment. I agree that if we listen to our hearts more, we'll find less of a need for external sources of happiness. You make a great point about how things can be tools for happiness. For example, Vi mentions dogs in her comment. Buying a dog is a purchase of happiness in a way (as are the running shoes) but, ultimately, you have to find happiness within you in order to make those tools work for you.

Hayden - OMG! I was lying in bed last night reading my emails and I saw your comment and almost DIED laughing. Bella (the dog) looked up at me like I was a crazy person. You are hilarious. I've never actually been there (or even seen one!) but now I feel like I must check out those delicious rolls!!

Giovanna - Exactly! Happiness IS a choice and it comes from within us, not from something we can purchase.

Karen - Great point. I need to look at why I'm in search of such a rush. There is something within me that needs to be addressed in order for me to attain true and lasting happiness. I'm so happy you like the posts! :)

Davina - Haha. Coke is pretty delicious! I agree with the fact that it's sad when people rely on external sources for their happiness and it's unfortunate that advertisers use this so often to sell their products. If you are aware of this (as all of us here are), we're in a much better position to resist buying into that concept that purchasing something will make us happier.

I liked the way you put it here. Happiness shouldn't be sold, it should be created :-)

Hi Dani .. fortunately I've never liked to shop for shopping's sake .. and I'd rather do anything that go shopping .. when I do think ok I'll give it a go .. I'm bored and can't last = saves my pennies!!

Your idea of creating happiness and the points you put over are excellent ..

You should be proud of yourself - it's an excellent post - well organised and to the point .. covering a great deal. I don't like adverts much either!

Go well - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Jocelyn - Excellent point! Don't buy happiness -- make it!

Hilary - Lucky you! I WISH I didn't like shopping! Someday... Thanks for the compliments on the post. :)

Hi Dani,

You've stumbled upon the secret that makes the world go least in the eyes of advertisers and marketers everywhere. They know that if they can get people to believe that their product will make them happy, they can sell as much as they want. Congratulations to you for seeing through their facade, and helping others do likewise.

You've unplugged from the matrix :). Welcome to the real world. HAHA. Great post.

My number one happiness generator is to burst out in spontaneous singing. When I'm really up for a rush I combine it with EFT.

Good post. I loved your commercial collection in the beginning. The insurance companies all seem to be jumping on the bandwagon and selling humanity these days.

Great post! I almost always seem to think that something outside of myself will make me happier - stuff like 'If I live on my own, I'll be happier', 'If I get into better shape, I'll be happier', 'If I dye my hair, I'll be happier' etc etc. Though I know that living on my own would ultimately make me happier, it's not something that's out of reach. I can be (And am) happy just as things are, even if they are not my ideal. So I'm trying to really let go of the external, to just not worry about it and be happy as I am, where I am, and with the hair I've got (even if it won't do the scene kid style that I've been striving for, haha). :)

This post has got me thinking. It makes me happy to remember my time in Sweden as an exchange student and my time traveling after that--and that's something that required money to do. Of course if I hadn't done it, I'm sure I wouldn't be much less happier. I mean I wouldn't know what I was missing. Now that I know the joys of traveling, sometimes I long to travel again--which is not good for happiness. But of course it's the experience that's important. I was just as happy staying in a hostel in NYC with my mom and four others in the room as I would've been paying three times more for a nice private room.
I think (for some people) the fewer things we buy, the more happiness each thing can bring. I have one purse for everyday. It was carefully picked out. It's made of hemp and fair trade. And it's useful. And I like it. It seems the more things people get, as they get more than one TV, purse, the less grateful people are for what they have. So maybe it's not just having the thing that makes me happy but being grateful that I have what I have.

Great Post! Wow. First of all, I think I have the opposite problem of the shop-a-holic thing; I think too often I deprive myself of material goods because I think that it makes me shallow to want them, or people like me who really want to help others and continue to learn and grow shouldn't need stuff. But, sadly, that often means that I'll go way too long without a haircut, or a new pair of shoes, or a cute outfit, because I think I should be saving my money or because buying something would be wrong. So NOT spending money for a little something definitely doesn't make me happy, if I'm buying into my belief that I don't deserve it or shouldn't need it.

On another note, I love the idea of creating a "Joy List", a list of things you can do for fun that are free and don't have anything to do with whatever you might have a mild addiction too (like food or shopping or whatever), and adding to it often.

We really can't buy happiness. Look at all the celebrities who have all the money in the world. Look at Oprah, even she still struggles; money certainly doesn't solve everything.

Is there a 12-Step program for shopaholics? If not, there should be. In Al-Anon and Adult Children Of Alcoholics meetings, I learned that until I loved myself, I would not be happy. Learning to love myself took the place of the outer stuff that I thought would make me happy.

Cut up your credit cards and window shop instead of buying all that stuff that you don't need. Stuff doesn't make you happy. It just makes you a pack rat which I have done in the past too. Stuff takes away your freedom to move freely. Stuff has to be cleaned so it takes up your time as well and gives you less time for the people and things that you really love.

Learning to love yourself is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself or your family because you become an example for them to do the same. Have a glorious day unless you choose to do otherwise.

Jay - Thanks! :) I've looked at advertisements from a variety of angles in my life (especially in relation to gender), but I've never given this much thought to how much happiness is incorporating in advertising schemes. It's quite interesting (and unfortunate) but recognizing it is definitely important.

Srinivas - Haha, yes I did! Thanks!

Tom - Singing is a great way to be happy. I was just singing loud as can be in my car on the way back from lunch and it was awesome. I definitely happier now. You're so right about the insurance companies!

Ia - Like you, I was (and still sometimes am) looking for things outside of myself to making me happy, but I'm working on this every day. Once you realize that it's up to YOU to create happiness, there is a lot less pressure on others/jobs/living situations/etc.

Lyndorr - You're right. Being grateful is the most important thing. It's important to show gratitude for the things we have and the wonderful people in our lives. I think that you've nailed one of my major problems. I have so many things that I'm not as grateful as I could be if I had fewer things. This is definitely something to take into consideration. (PS - Your everyday bag sounds awesome!)

Recipes for Creativity - Thank you for commenting! It's so interesting to hear from someone who has a problem opposite to my own. Though I think it's better to be in your shoes, I do think that everything in extreme is bad. You deserve to have a few nice things (or, at least, frequent hair cuts) and that doesn't make you a bad person. That being said, I struggle with that a lot. Society teaches us that "good" people don't care about material things so I often wonder what kind of person I am when I am shopping all the time. I believe balance is key here. It's not fair to completely deprive yourself, but it's also not right to just buy everything all the time. Also, great point about money. Even the riches people in the world aren't necessarily happy. I was just thinking the other day about the suicide rates and doesn't buy happiness, that's for sure!

Patricia - I do believe that there's a 12-step program for shopaholics. I've done some reading on the topics you've mentioned and I think a lot of what I've learned from those books/workbooks could be applied to this addiction as well. You're right about stuff not making me any happier. Luckily I'm also a big fan of getting rid of stuff (either by donating or selling it) so I don't have that pack rat problem. However, just because I keep my stuff organized and donate it when I no longer need it doesn't make my problem any less of a problem. I've really been working on the window shopping thing, though I do think it's best for me to stay away from malls and stores completely if possible. Thanks for your insights!

Interesting. I've never noticed all the mentions of "happy" in advertisments, before. The only one that rings familiar is IHOP's one. (I'm sure I'll be noticing them now.)

On the way back from NY, the in-flight movie was Confessions of a Shopoholic. It's really cute -- have you seen it? I'm not sure it will help solve your shopping-addiction, but you might be amused.

Kirwin - Welcome back! I hadn't noticed it either until I started looking and then, man, was I surprised! I have seen Confessions of a Shopaholic AND read all of the books in the series. The first time I read the book I was like, "OMG, this is my life!" I think I've gotten a lot better since the book came out, but I still have a long, long way to go.

I am a shopaholic too in the same way you described.... :(. However at the moment, a "non-practising" shopaholic who would always spend every cent she had given the chance- and now trying to control herself- but a hopeless shopaholic at heart.

It makes me sad. I always thought new things would make me happy and change my life, they never did....but I also haven´t learned from that 100%. However, I am changing and growing in myself and that alone gives me hope.

I answered True to 8 questions too (No to 1 and 3). And sometimes I don´t even know if I want to change...a true addict.

RML - Wow, you're the first person who's opened up about the shopaholic thing. Thank you for sharing. Getting an 8 on that test is definitely not a good sign for either of us. Hopefully giving some thought to this will help us (though, I'm ashamed to say, I've been to the mall TWICE since I wrote this post...). :/

Excellent article...I didn't notice how much advertisers use happiness.

Almost everything we do, we do because we want to be happy, and we want to be happy because we know we can be happy.

You're so right that givingness makes us happy. Possibly because when we're giving we're not thinking about happiness...

Thanks for some great insights

Kaushik - It's really interesting when you start paying attention to it just how much happiness is used in advertising. Givingness definitely makes us happy and I think it's so important to give to others rather than focus on ourselves.

Happiness is so vital. I started my blog because i realised i NEVER though about the actual concept of fun/happiness. Fab post. x

Frances - So glad you liked the post! Before starting this site, I thought about happiness, but not as something that I could actually attain. Now I really believe it's possible. Your site is awesome!

This is phenomenal! And so in need of being broadcasted. Society constantly tells us that the only way we will be happy if we have this or that, or look this way or that way.

But the truth is that so many of us are starting to hear louder and clearer is that nothing can take the place and replace that feeling that comes from within us.

We can have happiness no matter what our life situation, no matter how we look like, sound like or feel like. It simply starts with a choice, a choice to choose happiness no matter what, and it is possible - all choices are.

Thanks again for the great read!

Do you think serious shopaholics (in a damaging way) can ever really get over it, in the way an alcoholic is said to always be an alcoholic?

Evita - I'm so glad you liked the post! It's so true that we're taught to believe that things will make us happy, but more and more people are realizing (especially in this economic climate) that that isn't the case. Thanks for your comment!

RML - Great question. I don't know if it's something someone can get over or not, but I certainly know that it's not an easy thing for me. I've already been to the mall twice since I wrote this post, which, really, is pretty absurd. I'm guessing that being a shopaholic is similar to alcoholism in that there are different levels and situations, but I'm no expert on the subject.

One way to enjoy happiness for free is to READ THIS BLOG!

It's worth a million handbags, diamond rings, perfect shades of lip gloss... oh I could go on!

I've had a similar problem in the past. I think it comes down to what I call the caveman brain. Way back in the mists of time, the caveman with the most food/shelter/tools survived, while the one without didn't survive. The rush of pleasure at getting some thing was Ma Nature's way of ensuring that Ugg left the comfort of the cave and went out to find things, I guess.

Megan - Awww, that comment made me so happy! THANK YOU!

Solomon - What a great point. It's probably so true that we survived because we had more things to protect us and help us prepare food/etc. in the past, which might explain the mentality we have today. Great comment! Thanks!

Thanks for your question,

I think that like most things in life it usually isn't only 'Black or White'. In the Book 'Happy for No Reason'. (see my Thursday, March 05 post on my Blogspot) they talk about the 'Happiness Continuum', and how you can have the (Internal) Inner state of peace and well-being When you are - as in the book title - 'Happy for No Reason'.

They also talk about a (healthy) state of 'Happy for Good Reason' and the external (unhealthy) state of 'Happy for Bad Reason' and even a state of being plain 'Unhappy'. So I do think that in principle people are responsible for their own Happiness, and that 'Selling Happiness' doesn't automatically has to be a bad thing when it's done in an ethical and responsible way with good intentions.

Hey Dani! I loved this, you`re so smart :P Of course advertisements will use happiness to sell, triggering emotions on people is one of the best ways to connect with consumers, but I agree with you, happiness isn`t contained in any object or experience you can just ¨buy¨ Hell, everybody would be already happy right and no one would talk about the pursuit of happiness or anything. Btw, I love, love your blog, is there a way to subscribe through email?

Well, that puts a damper on my happiness stand I was going to open. Lemonade stands are so yester-year.

Excellent write up and I especially like your point on focusing on the positive. You get what you focus on.

Rosa - Why, thank you! :) I'm so happy you love the blog. I'm going to look into the subscribe via email thing (I'm still a bit new at this and trying to figure out how to make it perfect so thanks for bringing this up). I agree that happiness will always be used to sell things (after all, it works!) but it's important for us to realize that we won't be happier if we have a certain thing/food/experience. Happiness comes from within!

J.D. - Hahaha. That comment had me cracking up! (Perfect for a gloomy Friday morning!) You're completely right about getting what you focus on. Now that I've started focusing on happiness and positivity, it seems that more and more good is coming my way. I've always read about that kind of thing happening, but I always thought it was just a load of BS. But it's not! You really do get what you give, so it's best to give lots and lots of positivity. :)

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