What is affluenza?

Elvis Elvis

Affluenza sounds like a disease. In a way, it is, because those who have it are feeling ill at ease with their financial situation.

One would wonder how having too much money or “toys” would make a person feel uncomfortable or guilty, but this is what sometimes happens.

What once was called “keeping up with the Joneses” is now affluenza. It is like influenza, and symptoms can be similar: fatigue, vague complaints, distress and malaise.

It is a stressful condition resulting from the pursuit of more.

More in every sense, from clothing to vehicles to homes to money.

The fatigue can result from overwork, debts, wastefulness, and overall depression when the acquisition of all those “things” does not bring expected happiness.

Recent research has shown that the happiness factor actually increased when those studied reduced their consumption of “stuff”, and lived on less.

In a way, it is like giving children too many toys. With too much input, they ignore a lot, do not play with many of the toys, and certainly do not appreciate them. Plus, they will want more! When they only have a few things, they tend to treasure the items.

The pursuit of “more” has left us feeling unfulfilled and depressed. Even more confusing is that obtaining “more” is not enough! We want even more “more”!

What is affluenza?

This leads to overwhelming debt and more stress, more depression. Counterbalancing that is the same condition exists in those who suddenly acquire great wealth, through inheritance or windfall. They even feel guilty about having money.

It is truly confusing that the pursuit of wealth is not satisfying, when that is what is put forth by media and the world as a good goal.

If you want to look for an answer, look back to the simple living times.

It has been said people in the USA were happiest in the 1950’s, with their simpler life, more home time, and family relationships.

Affluenza is a modern malaise, a yuppie syndrome. People find ways to reduce it, by living smaller and simpler. Work less, share more. A by-product would be increased satisfaction with life, and enjoyment of relationships.