Subvert Unfulfilled Consumerism

by in American Sickcare System, Kitchen Sink, Stress, Unfulfilled Consumerism June 11, 2008

unfulfilledconsumerismstress.jpgAn unnecessary cause of stress these days is unfulfilled consumerism.

When we are stressed out we often immediately opt to buy something that will make us happy. We want the quick fix.

Most of the time the joy of buying something is transient. The drug-like serotonin and dopamine rush we receive from our latest purchase quickly dissipates as the stress, depression, anxiety, or desire to compulsively shop just quickly returns.

Before making purchases start the new habit of asking yourself… “Do I REALLY need that?”

Chances are you don’t.

The dreaded unfulfilled consumerism is the GRAND American tradition of overdoing everything:

  • Over-shopping.
  • Over-eating.
  • Over-drinking.
  • Over-smoking.
  • Over-driving around.
  • Over-needing.
  • Over-buying.
  • Over-producing.
  • Over-wanting.
  • Over-“keeping up with the Joneses”
  • Being the “Joneses”
  • Over-consuming.

Really, you don’t need STUFF, what you really need is a VACATION!

Trust me I’m a doctor…and I need one too!

Hooray! Let’s all stop buying stuff we don’t need (especially in bulk or the dreaded “buy two get one free”) and ask ourselves:

“What is the bare minimum I need in order to be happy?”

Learn to feel grateful and fulfilled with JUST that.

Instead of blowing your hard earned money on:

  • Things you don’t need.
  • Things that collect dust.
  • Things that waste your precious time.
  • Things that require maintenance and upkeep.
  • Things you don’t really want.
  • Things that make you unhappy.
  • Things that cause clutter.
  • Things you have to wash or fold.
  • Things that hang in the closet with the tags still on them.
  • Things that max out your credit card.
  • Things that make you fat.
  • Things that raise your cholesterol and make you a candidate for diabetes.

Try simply saving that money and putting it towards a vacation or other indulgent stress reducing activity!

Every time you feel tempted to buy something you really don’t need, like junk food, dessert, or heaven forbid McInflammation, breathe and then put that money towards your vacation.

Pay yourself for just saying “NO” to the unhappy American tradition of unfulfilled consumerism.

Trust me.

Less really is more and it adds up quickly.

Get your whole family interested in the concept!

How to save money while using less of the world’s precious resources is a great topic for your next family meeting. Motivate your kids with the idea of a fun vacation. Let them pick where you all are going to go. This is a simple way to teach kids about saving money and preserving our resources.

So, let’s all just put away our credit cards and BREATHE for five minutes!

Breathing is ALWAYS free and a great, simple way to eliminate stress.

Don’t be a victim to the vicious cycle of unfulfilled consumerism!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table.

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician

  1. Oh Dr. Nicole, the retailers aren’t going to like you. hehe

    If I get the urge to shop, sometimes I will buy an item or two, but…..I always keep the receipt. Often, the next day, I realize I really don’t need the item(s), so I’ll return it. The process satisfies the urge, (which is usually temporary), and it also reminds me I have enough “stuff”.

  2. My favorite relaxation must-have are regular massages…soooo worth it!

  3. Dr Nicole,

    This is one of your best posts as it resonates a lot with my philosophy – a life of contentment. We try to form a habit of consumption addiction, a hedonic bliss, a pleasure that is external and as treacherous as a mirage in the desert. How coincidental it is that we both have same theme for our last post. I’d love to get your comment on my post as I value your wisdom.


  4. It is true that when people find themselves under stressful situations, they tend to overindulge…and often on the wrong things.

    I encourage finding things to do to make yourself happy that aren’t necessarily short lived and for instant gratification, but longer lasting. As you say, a vacation is a wonderful way to unwind. That is, if you can afford it. Perhaps the reason most people reduce stress by buying little, often useless items are not only because they are “quick fixes,” but because they are often cheaper.

    I like to find activities that involve either the outdoors or other people to get my mind off my troubles or stresses.

    Thank you for this great article.

    Dr. KC

  5. Are you trying to make me a better person?

    Stop it, I like being crotchety.

    Just kidding. Thanks for the wise words.

    Between you and Doc KC, I may eventually turn into a decent human being.

  6. I agree 99% with that but you know me way enough to now, I’m going to take a tiny issue 😉

    If we need a vacation badly, then there’s probably somewhere along the line. Wanting a vacation, looking forward to a vacation and enjoying a vacation is brilliant and I’m right with you, needing one though is something altogether different.

    Let me tell you why I think that. My last full year in sales I spent about $20k on vacations! Seriously, I had 3 (good old UK holiday pay eh?) and they were all long haul and expensive. I thought they’d help me re-charge, re-invigorate and re-connect. Well yeh, maybe for a week or two and then it was back to the same ole, same ole.

    I think we need to disconnect from work regularly for sure (meditation maybe?), but I also think that if we do a job that we love then the NEED for a vacation if not disappears, then certainly reduces massively. I no longer feel like I need one, although I would like one.

    I do need that Jet-ski though, I think we can all agree that’s a definite NEED!

  7. Well, what I really need is for you to send me on vacation, then I can buy what I want and enjoy the vacation. J/K!!

    Simplification or “less is more” is the only way to go. Well said.

    Everybody needs vacations, at least Americans anyway. It’s a great time to relax and reflect on what’s important.

    The real solution to not overspending is to deal the the root cause of our unhappiness, the emotional pain we carry around. Then that vacation will be all the more sweeter. Or mabe we need the vacation to help us figure that out.

  8. Dr. Nicole,

    Great post. I’ve recently begun a three part post series called “The Scourge of Materialism” that addresses the personal, social and ecological costs of materialistic values and some ideas for resisting the constant barrage of messages we get to buy into them.

    You’ve hit on the main point – that stuff doesn’t make us happy. In fact, the desire for stuff leads to depression, anxiety, headaches and a whole host of social and ecological ills. As always, your posts are right on target.

  9. […] If I ever had a Christmas wish to come true, I wish we could extract all the ridiculous commercialism from Christmas and focus on the actual point of the holiday. Just think of all the money we have all wasted on decorations, that could build homes, buy food and blankets, provide shelter. The commercialism of Christmas in itself could likely end homelessness as each family spends an average of $1200 on unfulfilled consumerism. […]

  10. […] we learn to move away from “Unfulfilled Consumerism” and make choices that are healthier for the environment as well as our pocketbooks, we can certainly […]

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