CulturallyOurs Understanding The Joy In Enough

Understanding The Joy In Enough

CulturallyOurs Understanding The Joy In Enough

Last week we shared an inspiring interview with author Julie Pointer Adams. Julie is a keen advocate of a Wabi-Sabi lifestyle – a Japanese concept around the beauty of imperfection and enjoying the simplicity of life. Wabi-sabi isn’t about old and vintage things, instead it a way of thinking and living and enjoying life beyond the material – the moments, memories and people who make it special.

Wabi-Sabi extends to the concept of simplicity in life. Now more than ever, people are slowly beginning to understand that consuming less can help you enjoy life more.

Do you catch yourself snacking mindlessly on junk food even when you know it is not good for you? Buying clothes that don’t really fit? Binge-watch TV shows when you know  you really need sleep or need to get work done? Rest assured, you are not alone. Today’s ‘always on’ culture glorifies busy and is fanatically centered around consumption of all kinds. The false promise of satisfaction that is such a big part of advertising messages these days often traps us into an endless cycle of want verses need. The next best phone, a faster car, a bigger house, prettier clothes and so on and so forth. But what if we pause and ask ourselves do we really need more? More than what we already have? These habits of consumption don’t just affect our happiness; they’re also tough on the planet. Our discarded stuff all ends up somewhere, whether overfilling a landfill, or polluting a landscape.
Breaking this cycle of excess is not always easy, but it’s entirely possible and it gets easier as you keep taking one small step after another.

The following strategies can help you consume less and get more pleasure from the items you do choose to include in your life.CulturallyOurs Understanding The Joy In Enough

1.  Redirect wasteful energy into more meaningful things

Purchasing fewer products breaks the environmentally damaging chain of buy-use-dispose-repeat. It can also make us feel considerably more energized. Sometimes it is almost as if a heavy weight is lifted off our shoulders when we let go of the desire to constantly accumulate the next best thing. Replace stuff with more importance and meaningful things like strong relationships, give back programs, self-love and love for others. All the energy, focus and passion is now challenged into a more productive mindset. The more we accumulate, the more mental energy we expend to take care of it. When you begin to accept that what you have is enough and start to let go of some of that consumption mindset  including shopping, social media, overeating it can be exhilarating.So the next time you feel the urge to buy, try doing the complete opposite. Pick something you already own or have and ask yourself if you really need it, what purpose does it serve and how would you feel if you did not have that. Try this repeatedly to understand the need verses want conundrum.

2. Being mindfully about stuff

People often assume that scaling back their possessions means chucking everything of value. But it is more about understanding what each item you own means to you. Knowing what’s important to you is just as crucial as understanding what to discard. This can work for things like clothes, shoes and household items. How many plates, cups and spoons do you really need? How many pairs of jeans or pants do you really wear?

A great way to do this is to consider a capsule wardrobe for every season – staples that can be mixed and matched to provide a new outfit combination everyday with essentially a limited number of items in the capsule.

3. Live within your means

It is so temping to put expenses on your credit card and not have to worry about payments until 30-60-90 days out. This buy-today-pay-tomorrow mindset is quite damaging. Instead try to budget and live within your means. Figure out how many days you can go with out buying anything – essentials and non-essentials. This really trains you to use what you have and reduce waste.

4. Invest in quality verses quantity

By focusing on high-quality, durable, long-lasting products, you might hit the top of your affordability range. But consider the return on investment. Paying more for a well-made item means you can use it for years — sometimes decades. You’ll be able to shop less often and replace fewer goods, keeping more out of the waste stream.

Fast fashion has a higher cost than you may realize. Consider the low wages and hazardous working conditions garment workers face, and the environmental impact pesticides have on fabric crops. And not all quality goods are expensive. Own only what you absolutely love and what you want to live with for a long time. Think of your possessions as a collection and when you get something new, something else gets donated or recycled.

Shopping this way can help create a sharp distinction between need and want that will serve you in multiple ways.

5. Cultivate a mindset of contentment

Whether you’re consuming food, drink, media, live entertainment, or the sights and sounds of recreational shopping, stay present. Take a moment to consider whether you’re actually “full.” Notice if you’re consuming out of habit or boredom. Many of us are used to going past our satiety point. We numb out and eat the rest of what’s on the plate or watch a lackluster TV show and waste a whole afternoon. But cultivating presence can help developing an understanding of what truly brings us pleasure, and knowing how to savor what we’re doing, eating, or watching in the moment.

Research has indicated that about 90 percent of our happiness comes from how we process the world, which means how you look at your circumstances and only 10 percent is external, which means the stuff you consume in some way. The way you think about what you have really matters. It can lead to happiness or unhappiness, depending on how you’re looking at it. A good way to figure this out is to track your consumption and feelings associated with that in a journal and review your thoughts/emotions periodically.CulturallyOurs Understanding The Joy In EnoughThe best way to understand what ‘having enough’ means to you is to experiment with what you have and what joy you can derive from those material possessions. Evaluate the true cost not just by its monetary value but also by the time and effort required to have and maintain these things. And remember this is a completely personal exercise – what is frivolous for some might be essential for others. Go really granular and deep in understanding your personal situation to make the discovery of what ‘enough’ means to you.

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