Lucky for us, Tammy Strobel, creator of the Rowdy Kittens blog, has produced the perfect user-friendly blueprint for simplifying your life.
You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap), How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too explains the logic and freedom of simplicity and shows you doable step-by-step actions that will help you get a handle on all that is “too much” in your life. Replete with engaging stories, honest, and intelligent, this simplicity guide is easy to embrace.
Don’t worry about that word “radical” in the title. As Strobel assures us, there are many different versions of simplicity and the key is find your own level of simple comfort.
Materialism and Its Link to Depression and Low Satisfaction
Strobel bought into the “American Dream” at a very early age. Ever since she was a kid, she says she wanted,
“…a house in the suburbs, with my own washing machine and dryer, a big kitchen to cook huge meals, and an extra bedroom for guests to stay in when they visited.”
After graduating from college, she took a job at a financial investment firm and set out to achieve her fantasy of the good life.
Soon Strobel found herself sinking into depression despite having a promising but not fulfilling job, a nice car, a closet full of clothes, and a great husband. To alleviate her feelings of dissatisfaction, like many of us, she went on regular shopping trips to the nearby outlet mall.
Shopping brought momentary bursts of pleasure, but entangled her in a never-ending work-spend cycle and locked her further into frustration and despair. On top of that, by the end of college, she and her husband had accumulated $30,000 in debt. Despite having the “ideal” life, her dream house was now far beyond her reach and she felt plagued by a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction.
Strobel’s experience is not an anomaly. In fact, the scientific research she shares in You Can Buy Happines (and It’s Cheap) links a materialistic mindset with unhappiness and negative emotions. She quotes Tim Kassner, author of The High Price of Materialism, as saying:
“…strong materialistic values are associated with a pervasive undermining of people’s well-being, from low life satisfaction and happiness, to depression and anxiety, to physical problems such a headaches and to personality disorders, narcissism and antisocial behavior.”
That’s a wake up call, isn’t it?
Simplicity and happiness are inextricably link in Strobel’s mind for good reason. Simple living, she says, has brought her the precious gifts of time, freedom, and community, which constitute her personal definition of lasting happiness.
Fortunately, a series of events collided to create a turning point in Strobel’s life. She began a gradual, but consistent journey of downsizing and documents all the twists and turns in her book.
Finding Freedom and Happiness in Simplicity
Throughout You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap), Strobel emphasizes that downsizing is a process that takes time and, understandably, raises fears, but is well worth the happiness and freedom you will discover. The practical tips and deeper wisdom in Strobel’s book will help you:
- Define happiness for yourself
- Outline the level of simplicity that is right for you
- Explore your personal relationship with stuff and money
- Take small actionable steps to reduce excess stuff
- Avoid the lure of excessive shopping
- Get on top of over-spending
- Explore ways to get out of debt
- Feel reassured and encouraged when fear arises
- Learn about different models of simplicity
- Redefine success and focus on your passion
- Improve your relationships
- Discover the joy of tiny pleasures.
Here’s a taste of what awaits you in You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) through a look at the chapter titles:
- Buying Things Will Not Make You Happy
- The Stuff You Own Owns You
- Changing Your Relationship with Stuff
- The Power of Debt
- Sell What You Can, Give the Rest Away
- The Joy of a Small House
- Reclaiming Work
- Time Is the Only Real Wealth
- Money vs. Experiences
- Relationships Matter, Not Things
- The Art of Community Building
- The Power of Tiny Pleasures
As an avid reader of Strobel’s blog, I was so excited when the review copy arrived in my mailbox. I feel blessed to have this friendly guidebook at my side as I enter into my own process of downsizing. Rich with stories, practical steps, and warm encouragement, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) will help you change your life for the better in countless happy ways.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the connection between happiness and simplicity. Have your found more happiness in simplicity?
Thank you for reading and sharing! If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email. With love and gratitude, Sandra