Material Things Are Temporary — (Meaning and Examples)

material things are temporary meaning and examples from find it health experts

Pursuing and purchasing material things will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness. Typically it results in a temporary joy, but this will only last for a few days and not a happy life.

Research from members of FinditHealth found that obsessing over material things is a coping mechanism to mask our unhappiness in today’s world. Buying the best next thing or the new upgrade, and just new things in general, will not bring happiness into your life. Keep reading to learn how material things affect your life and how to instead focus your money on experiences and bonding with those around you.

material things are temporary meaning and examples from find it health experts

Material Things Meaning 

Materialism is the term used to dictate the importance one places on material possession. Material things are anything from clothes, shoes, and jewelry to cars, cellphones, and electronic gadgets.

You could even view your home as a material thing, especially if you are someone who has a house full of things!

Materialism can be broken down into two categories known as materialistic and minimalist. Materialistic is someone with a high level of material things and considers these things to be central to their life and their identity. They obtain happiness by having temporary thrills. A minimalist tries to live with the least amount of material things in their life. They focus more on experiences and live on less. 

Neither is right or wrong, but it’s important to note that you can be happier being a minimalist by not placing your importance and worth in life on material things.

You are ultimately setting yourself up for unhappiness because you will continue this loop of buying things to fill a missing void inside you. By taking material things away and learning to live on less, you enjoy more of the present moment, which ultimately leads to happiness. 

Why Material Things Are Temporary

Material things are temporary because they only give us instant gratification. A great example is women who, after a stressful day, are convinced they need “retail therapy.” This is going to the store and buying new things to cheer yourself up after a rough, bad day. That feeling of constantly wanting new things other than what we currently have and thinking these new things will make our life better.

We are buying things to fill the void that resides within ourselves. 

This could also be said for new cars and new phone upgrades. So many of us are constantly upgrading our vehicles and cell phones when our current ones work fine! We think it’s important to sit and journal your feelings when you feel like you need new things.

This means that whether it’s new shoes to make you feel fancier, or a nice car to show out on the town you will always be searching for something that is “better.” This will only bring you temporary happiness and ultimately lots of frustration. In the grand scheme of life, material things mean nothing; the sooner you realize this, the happier you’ll be.

As we age and evolve through life, the things we own are not what we remember and what is essential in the search for happiness. What is important is the people we spend life with and the experiences we incurred as we moved along the journey of life. Rather than buying material things for the sake of making yourself happy, take this energy onto those closest to you.

Start scheduling more social outings with friends, date nights with a loved one, and even more time for things that bring you joy like yoga or a walk along the beach. Spend time practicing the art of gratitude and appreciation for everything around you. When you focus on what truly matters, the void you were trying to fill will fade away as will the urge to buy more material things. While treating yourself is perfectly normal to do every once in a while you should learn to be happy with what you have.

Material Things Don’t Matter

Material things and worldly possessions do not matter and can have a lot of consequences. One significant consequence is financial because constantly buying material things often leads to substantial debt. Many studies show that high credit card debt is actually linked to compulsive shopping.

Materialism may also affect one’s self-esteem.

Rather than getting their self-worth from their accomplishments or unique traits, people constantly seeking material things may only feel valuable based on what they own. Research has also shown that materialism may make people less self-sufficient and mindful.

They are also less likely to experience flow experiences such as traveling or even a yoga or meditation class. It’s called a flow experience because you feel fully immersed as you do these things. At the end of the day, when you place an emotional attachment to material items rather than turning inward to meet your needs, you will never find happiness.

Happiness Is Not About Material Things

Material things will never bring you long-term happiness for many reasons. 

They Are Temporary

All material things are temporary by nature and will all begin to fade over time. They will seem shiny and amazing at the moment, but they will eventually lose their appeal, especially as there is always something new right around the corner. 

More Stress

Every time we buy more material things, we are potentially bringing more stress into our lives. For one, every physical item we bring into our lives represents one more thing that can be broken, scratched, or stolen. Second, our material things require maintenance and our time such as new video games. They need our energy and focus to stay working and taken care of, and even cleaning and organizing. Think about a brand-new car and the maintenance that comes with having a new car. This maintenance can add up and, as a result, distract us from the real things that truly do bring us lasting happiness


Sometimes we think we buy new material things because we expect these purchases to impress other people. They will notice our new shoes, car, or cellphone, but most of the time, people don’t even see them. This will only ultimately disappoint you because the sad reality is someone else will always have more or better. It’s better to focus on experiences and bonding with friends and family to make yourself happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are material things not important?

While we need basic material things (like a home/shelter) to survive, most of us tend to go overboard. Material things are unnecessary because they distract us from the things that truly bring us lasting happiness. Constantly having to buy new things and maintain material things distracts you from things that genuinely bring you joy, like a walk with a friend or going to a yoga class in your community. 

What are material things in life?

Material things in life are any physical possession that we purchase. These can be things like cars, shoes, jewelry, and makeup. 

Can material things make you happy?

This answer will be different for everyone because material things will bring instant gratification and temporary happiness but not long-lasting happiness. But, material things could motivate and inspire you to live a better life.

Conclusion – Research by

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Everyone will be different, and we aren’t saying to get rid of everything you own but to instead focus more on experiences than physical objects. Next time you think you need more shoes, or the newest iPhone upgrade, take a step back and think about how this will change your life.

Perhaps this money could be used to travel and explore a new country. Our team of researchers at FinditHealth found that desiring and working towards happiness fulfillment will ultimately lead to a happier life than just seeking temporary instant gratification.

Next time you are tempted to add more things online to a cart, take a walk outside first and clear your head. You might not need those things after all!

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches