It is probably a bit eccentric, but I began a recent holiday by spending three days with a modest and talented genius called Chris Wing, who comes and sorts out your messy home.

I have to say in self defence that to the naked eye the apartment was already immaculate, but that is only thanks to those big sliding doors - which were concealing chaos.

The experience was both humbling and exhilarating. Humbling because it brought me literally face to face with all the duplicate purchases of things I had never really needed anyway, and exhilarating because tidiness and order give the illusion of being in control of your life. Chris is a disciple of "Enoughism", a word coined by John Naish in his book, Enough: breaking free from the world of more.

He points out that we buy far too much stuff, for instance hobby items such as surfboards or Wiis, but then realise we don't have time to use them.

In fact the time is being used working to acquire more things. Go to any car boot sale and you can rely on being able to buy a sandwich toaster, tea maker, electric guitar or foot spa and dozens of other objects bought to solve a problem that never existed anyway.

Naish suggests that we ask ourselves several questions before making yet more purchases: is there anything else I already own that could be repaired or updated instead? Do I really want to dust it, maintain it, dry clean it? A year from now, will I still feel pleased with it? Will it really work that miracle, or do I want it in order to seem cool and clever?

Enoughism applies to work as well. Many of my clients are driven people, ambitious, talented and hard working. Some of them may be putting in 60, 70, 80 hours a week, taking work on holiday, working while eating, working at weekends. When I ask what motivates them, the answers often fall into the category of "everybody does", or "I need to do it to get to the next level", or "I need to earn more".

Applying the concept of enoughism to ambition can seem subversive, but actually it is liberating.

The economists Daniel Hamermesh and Jungmin Lee in their fascinating study Stressed Out on Four Continents report that moaning increases with income.

The more we earn, the more likely we are to complain about lack of time because we equate our high earnings with a sense of entitlement to more leisure and feel resentful that time cannot be stretched.

When you combine an acute need to acquire more material goods with overwhelming ambition, work turns to drudgery and burn-out cannot be far off.

The current economic crisis is frightening and will for certain have long term negative impact on everyone.

But it may also do us all a favour. It may force us to understand that so many of our choices are based on the false gods of overconsumption.

The solution is not about reverting to puritanism but about rediscovering the golden mean: enough money and enough work to create another "enough": happiness.