As we scream into the holiday season we are bombarded with commercials which are very well crafted for TV, FB, IG or any other digital format to elicit a feeling of worth or lack of worth in order to get us to buy something. We are being squeezed by societal pressure put on us everywhere we look.
Billions are spent on market research and discovering the psychology of buying habits across all types of people. I don't blame the companies as their executives' job performance is based on 90 day stock price performance (fortunately I don't report to anyone except the IRS and Tennessee Department of Revenue).
Walk through Costco or Sams any given day and taste all the samples out in the isles. This is done due the human nature of exchanging something you want for something you have. The Law of Reciprocity. You feel the necessity to buy it because you took some of it. If you want more on this behavior, see Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini.
Is the pursuit of happiness what is to blame for the pressure? I believe it is partly to blame. Maybe we've been taught that happiness is what we are to shoot for. Happiness was thrown in with the, "you need to make good grades, to get into a good school so you can get a good job" line of Bull S**t. A bunch of non-practitioners telling us how to be practitioners, taking credit for any success we have while patting themselves on the back for the great job they're doing. I guess they want all of us to be just as happy as they are.
This is not just done by teachers but by those closest to us. I don't blame them. See above. They were tricked into thinking happiness is the goal which can be achieved by nice cars, jewelry, big house, a college degree and mad stacks of cash. If you have all of that and you earned it, good for you! Just don't be a douche and measure others by it.
If you want the big house(s), nice cars, big watches and an MBA, Massive Bank Account, then you should absolutely go for it! Just do it the right way with a smidge of humility.
We are all under pressure and you have to be able to tell if it's good pressure or bad pressure. Post Traumatic Stress doesn't have to be negative. I'll state that again. Post Traumatic Stress does not have to be negative. Stress gives us context to other problems which in turn helps us deal with other problems more efficiently.
Chances are if you're reading this, you're either EOD or some other profession that has put you in Harm's Way, on purpose. There are a lot of people who just can't do this kind of work. I'd rather walk down range than drive in Nashville Rush Hour. I'll say that most people in rush hour would prefer traffic over walking down range.
So how do we stomp societal pressure like a Narc at a biker rally? Awareness. If you're feeling pressure, you need to ID it to see if it's positive or negative. If it's positive pressure, get after it and crush it. If it's negative pressure you need to find what or whom is causing it and why.
Mechanically induced stress like what we have during the holidays, ZalesLexusJaredsMercedesCostco, realize that they are manipulating you with the law of reciprocity and the need to keep up with the Jones'.
If you're experiencing negative stress from a spouse, boss, parent, it may be time to start thinking about an exit strategy and move on to someone that will provide positive stress if they fail to see their behaviors are negative and make some changes.
Now if your stress is self-induced because you have to get the perfect Christmas gift, you really should turn off all things electronic and go for a walk. If you're buying a gift for someone that loves you, they're love is not conditional of something you or countless thousands of others can buy. Or if if their love is conditional, you need to decide if it's OK with you. If not, make the change and stop stressing over it.
The act of buying something can give you a feeling of happiness all though temporary. Drugs can make you happy for a while. I guess that's why buying drugs is so popular. Just because it makes you happy doesn't make it meaningful.