Mindfulness May Ease Holiday Habits & Stresses

New research from American University proposes that mindfulness can counteract the adverse impacts of mindless consumption due to automatic thoughts, habits, and unhealthy behavior patterns.

In the article, Sonya A. Grier, Ph.D., M.B.A., explores the challenges associated with realizing the transformative potential of mindful consumption.

“Consumers can engage in mindful consumption practices to potentially mitigate the adverse effects that mindless consumption, such as overeating and drinking, or frivolous shopping, has on an individual’s well-being,” said Grier.

Mindfulness is a type of awareness that enables a trained mind to make deliberate choices and be less susceptible to persuasive messaging.

For the untrained mind, objective awareness is regularly sidetracked by an abundance of memories, perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and judgements, resulting in the squandering of time, energy, and attention, which are all limited resources for consumers.

“In a fast-paced world, mindful consumption can help consumers stay in touch with the most important priorities in their lives and help them self-regulate to make choices based on those priorities instead of bad habits,” said Grier.

More specifically, the research suggests mindfulness consumption training can lead to:

  • financial well-being — Mindfulness consumption practices can lead to an increased ability to make skillful financial decisions that are aligned with deeper values and facilitate well-being.
  • less materialism — Mindfulness consumption practices can result in an increased capacity to manage societal pressures to spend money or value possessions and greater ability to find ways to satisfy psychological needs at a deeper level. Additionally, mindful consumers are less susceptible to marketing tactics and more likely to have higher self-esteem as they are not motivated by approval from self or others.
  • family ties — Mindfulness consumption practices can lead to an enhanced quality of time and experience with one’s family, along with an increased ability to make better decisions for the well-being of family members.
  • environmental well-being — Mindfulness can help consumers have a slower consumption rate, which helps sustain happiness with products and reduce disposal behavior.
  • societal well-being — Lastly, mindful consumption practices can result in a heightened ability to practice openness and tolerance toward other groups and perspectives.

To practice mindful consumption, Grier recommends developing awareness of what triggers unhealthy behavior or relationships, pay attention to the body’s reaction to the consumption of food or products, and to understand the impermanence of cravings.

The study also recommends being wary of underlying motives to spend money, of the value placed on material items, and of constructing a sense of identity based on material goods.

The study appears in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

Source: American University/EurekAlert