Not Happy? These 4 Alternative Lifestyles Can Help

Not Happy? These 4 Alternative Lifestyles Can Help

There are lifestyles to be had beyond the usual confines of westernization that can help us become happier.

Americans are not happy. A recent international study on happiness showed the United States is actually becoming less happy as time goes on. This is despite the fact that we're richer as a country than ever before. But sometimes money really doesn't buy happiness, at least not when it's being spent unwisely or isn't distributed equally. Our western lifestyle is characterized by excess -- of food, of material objects, of options, of working hours, of everything. However, there are lifestyles to be had beyond the usual confines of westernization that can help us become happier. Here are my favorite four:

1. Minimalism

Minimalism is hard to wrap your head around if you've been raised the American way. Basically, you take every material object in your possession and get rid of everything you don't absolutely need. Things like knick knacks, bookshelves, cell phones, desks, extra shoes, clothes, extra forks and knives (do you really need a 20-piece set when you live with one other person?), your second couch in the living room, your TV, everything.

There are so many things we are told that we need when we really don't. We work long hours at jobs we probably don't enjoy just to afford all these things. Look in your purse. How much money worth of makeup is in there? Glance around your bedroom. What decorations hang on the walls? Yeah those things are nice, but they're unnecessary and may not be a fair trade for the amount of time you spend working to get them.


Many minimalists can pack up and travel any time because they can fit all of their belongings in one suitcase. Where would you go if you didn't have to worry about renting a moving truck or packing for days? Where would you live if you didn't have to worry about losing stuff or leaving anything behind? Personally, traveling makes me happier than stuff.

Minimalists have things that are of quality. No shitty cell phone will do, because they use it for communication, Netflix, doing work off of, internet, etc. and they don't have a TV or a laptop to back it up if it breaks. We often trade quantity for quality without realizing it. Minimalists don't. They can save money by not wasting it on excess and spend more on what's actually important to them.

Minimalists can take more time off work. They don't need a giant house (remember tiny houses?) or a two car garage, so their rent bill is lower. They don't need to buy as much to have a reason to work. Less time at work means more time spent on hobbies, developing skills, or just having fun.

What could you sell right now to start yourself off?

2. Straight edge

Unhappy people generally use something to cope with their unhappiness, or need a little help relaxing. Unhappy people might also be unhappy because they're unhealthy. Straight edge combats this by cutting out the consumption of any mind-altering substances. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and sometimes even coffee, sex, and addicting foods are all off-limits. It brings a whole new meaning to "clearing your head."

While straight edge has started to become associated with gangs or violent crews (there's even a gangland episode now), that's not what it's about or where it came from. It's originally a rejection of the prevalence of hard drugs in the 1980's punk scene. But you don't actually need to be any shade of punk to stop drinking, popping, shooting, or smoking.


Alcohol rots your liver, cigarettes your lungs, and pills your stomach. I'm pretty sure we all remember that drugs are bad (mmkay?). Ditch them and say hello to a little healthier.

You'll have more control over yourself when you need to make any type of choice, big or small, because you won't be influenced by anything other than your options. You'll have more control over the situation when you're at a party and your drunk angry friend tries to fight everyone in the bar. It's useful to have someone level-headed in the room. Plus you'll be a guaranteed DD, so everybody will get home safe and you never have to depend on someone else to drive you.

Your wallet will thank you. The average cigarette smoker spends over $2,000 a year. Weed is like $60 a quarter. And for booze, the sky is the limit with price.

3. Veganism

Veganism is becoming more popular as people are realizing that bad food comes with bad consequences for our health, our environment, and our relationship with mother nature. Veganism is the practice of consuming (eating, buying, using, supporting) only things that don't harm animals. No meat, no dairy, no beauty products that test on animals, no fur clothing and the like.


You can feel good about making a difference in the world. Although one person makes a relatively small difference, over a lifetime that turns out to be big. And as a whole movement of people doing it, it becomes huge. I've realized that we don't vote with our ballots, we vote with our money. If you don't support factory farming, don't buy the products it produces. It's something you can do every day to influence something you care about.

A plant-based diet is the healthiest thing out there and it's the queen of preventative medicine. Yes, you can get protein from things that aren't meat. Plus, health comes hand-in-hand with beauty and a long life. Keep the doctor away and your skin glowing at the same time.

4. Living off the grid

"Off the grid" generally refers to the electrical grid of cities, and more broadly to the square mile planning of cities that you don't find in rural areas. It's a rejection of accepting public utilities and providing them for yourself instead. Trade in DTE bills for solar panels and a propane system; trade in city plumbing for a septic tank and a well. Becoming self-sufficient is liberating and works just as well as city services.


Although it's expensive to set up, in the long run you'll save boat loads of money on bills. It's the same mentality of "why would I pay rent for the rest of my life when I could buy and own a house one day?" Why pay the city for a service forever when you could do it yourself? An investment goes a long way here.

When there's a power outage, guess what you still have? When cities like Flint (and others) waste taxpayer money and poison the water, guess what you don't have to deal with?

Living off the grid inspires you to be autonomous in other aspects of life, too. Once you realize what you can do on your own, you do more. Like growing your own food and building your own projects (furniture, sheds, etc.) instead of relying on someone else.

Do these sound crazy? Well so does continuing in a lifestyle that doesn't make you happy.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!


What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

If You're A Master Of Procrastination, Try Using These 6 Ideas To Make Your Study Time Productive

Don't let valuable study time turn into Netflix time!


We all know that college is full of distractions that always appear right when you need to be productive. From me to you, here are my top 6 tips on how to turn that procrastination into productivity!

1. ​Find a quiet space

If you ever want to get anything done, you must, and I mean must, get away from all distractions. That includes your bedroom! Your bed is your first enemy when it comes to getting work done. I have found that even being in the same room as my bed prevents me from focusing on anything but laying down.

Some people go to a study room in their house. Others go to the library or a bookstore. It's completely up to you where your quiet place is as long as you find it.

2. Step away from that phone

You will not be productive if your phone is buzzing every second and social media is just a fingerprint away--or a password away, for my Android users. If you cannot practice self-control and stay off your phone, turn it off and put it in your bag.

3. Organization is key.

To-do lists are always a good start to getting things done. Planning out what needs to get done based on deadlines, priority, and amount of work, make for a smooth study time.

Time management is another tool that helps when you start to feel overwhelmed or just having a brain fart. Not everyone can work consistently for hours on end. Give yourself some time to breathe and for the juices to flow!

Use your break time to check your phone, watch a show, do some laundry, etc. Anything that can give you a nice little break from all the thinking. Though the key to breaks is, you have to end it and get back to the work!

4. Music

This one might change depending on the person, but personally, music is my gateway to productivity. There have been times where I am on the verge of quitting when I realize, I have no music on.

Some might prefer to play soft classical music that will calm them and get their creative juices flowing. Others, such as myself, prefer to play Beyonce' and scream the lyrics at the top of our lungs. Either way, music is known to activate both the left and the right side of the brain, which leads to ultimate brain activity.

5. Snacks

Nourishment is vital to proper brain activity. If you haven't eaten and you're wondering why you can't focus or feel tired, you most likely need to eat. So before you sit down and try to push through those stressful assignments, make yourself some brain food.

On the other hand, snacks can serve as comfort food. If you're feeling down about all the work you have waited last minute to complete, comfort food is to the rescue!

6. Candles

Personally, I love a mood-setter. Sometimes setting up the room in a calming manner can help you think. Set up your favorite candles, dim the lights, and let them work their smell-good magic.

Related Content

Facebook Comments