Be Happier


Owning fewer possessions makes you happier.

According to a survey by the Simplicity Institute, an organization that surveyed 2,500 people across various countries who self-identified themselves as living with fewer possessions, 87 percent of respondents indicated they were happier now than when they owned more possessions.

This may sound contrary to everything we’ve been told growing up. But when we begin to consider the benefits of living with less (less debt, less stress, less cleaning), it begins to make sense why these statistics would hold true. Happiness is not found in owning as many possessions as possible; it’s found living life consistent with your greatest passions.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    “1. they will marvel that people with so little can be so joyful. ”

    I had this realization when I spent 15 months in Afghanistan. At that moment, I became interested in minimalism.

  2. says

    So true. I took an African American Studies course this semester, and a documentary we watched talked about how people from industrialized nations write Africans off as “uncivilized” when they see how few possessions they have and how they live off the land. I think we’re the ones who should be written off as silly.

    • Kristian says

      You sure got that right, and I soooo wish I could change the western mentality but try to explain minimalism and reason to a brain that has been programmed and indoctrinated through TV sins early childhood, that stuff is what makes you happy and in gold and fame is where bless and happiness is to be found – It’s almost impossible – And even worse is that the western society are so sure that the only right way is the capitalist society that huge forces and enormous amounts of money are spend to underline it, so no one is in any doubt that it’s true.(I’m NOT advocating for communism here) But we need to teach our young the true price of stuff – And by living our lived with all the benefits of minimalism hopefully people will see and more will follow. for it is the one of the ways to create a better world.

  3. says

    I recently spent some time in Cambodia working for a nonprofit. All my belongings fit into 1 suitcase, and I was the absolute happiest Ive ever been. It made me realize my happiness doesnt come from ‘things’ but rather filling my life with meaningful experiences. My trip inspired me to live a life thats as free as material posessions as possible.

    Your post perfectly described my experience, and your blog is an inspiration to keep up my minimalist life!

  4. Cindy H says

    Actually as of 2011 France ranks #1 in depression rate, but the US is in 2nd, and your point is definitely made.

  5. Val says

    Hi, first of all, just want to share with you how much I enjoy your blog. Your articles are interesting & inspiring. After beginning a path of “less is more” in 2007, I have moved from 3400 square feet to 1250, eliminated debt & saved a lot!, & am now pursuing a career in medicine. Oh, & we have 3 young boys. It is amazing to me how nobody misses the basement, attic, 3-car garage, etc. The secret is we are content & thankful for all we have. We live in a very affluent town & I guess people think we faced a hardship. I think, as you do, very differently about this. My current job has taken me all over the world so I have witnessed exactly what you write about above. I would rather place emphasis on helping other souls, education & living life with my family than impressing my neighbors with a 400k kitchen renovation ;-)

    • di says

      If everything were divided equally throughout the world, everyone would be wealthy. No deprivation, no jealousy, no crime, etc.

      I think I remember this kind of world portrayed on an episode of Star Trek.

  6. Michelle says

    My husband and I backpack. If you have to carry it on your back, you realize just how little you really need to make it.

  7. MALT says

    In searching for happiness and contentment,
    the road to travel will go round and round until it rest for something…
    I am a beginner and I’m trying to embrace it now ….

    • steve k says

      I am 37, single, male. i don’t have a job, am bereft of hope of $ income unless I am granted social security disability benefits, and the only support I get is thru a charity org. due to an extremely toxic social situation at where I reside now, I need to move ASAP. Bc I have no income, I must stay at a shelter which is run by abovesaid org, until my disability comes through. I have absolutely no alternate plan if I don’t get disability, and am entering a calamitous stage of life unless my luck turns. I am too poor and worn out to think very long. I had serious bike accident injury in june. I am trying to reduce my possessions to the barest possible min in order to be more nomadic and to be able to shift quarters with greater speed and ease. in view of the fact that I have no car (and wouldn’t want one bc of the hassle and moral guilt of being a single major GHG emitter), and the fact that winters are intensely cold here, im wondering what a minimalist list of things for me would be like. I have no partner or any social attachments of any depth and have no sentimental feelings for my unpractical objects (Ive discarded over 75% of what I had a few weeks ago and still feel buried by my possessions…ive thrown out most of my clothes, all of my photos, writing, drawings, notebooks, scientific instruments, 97% of my book collection, gave up my car last winter). theres still a ways to go, and I still have 2 bikes, I have to keep one at least for transport and exercise. practical advice, please? Thanks

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