Capitalism always finds a way to win, whether we like it or not. Any exchange of dollars in a free market, even to a small local business right smack in your neighborhood, is participation in consumerism. There’s an ickiness to the notion of consumerism, let alone just typing it out or verbalizing it, right? Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
What we consume can benefit us in the best ways possible, developing a healthy balance of being informed, learning subjects and skills that elevate our well-being, energize and even heal our bodies, and bring emotions that lift us to thrive. The flip side is that we can also consume ideas, substances, and so forth that result in deprecating, even destructive habits and subconscious beliefs. What are some solutions to ensure what we choose to ingest will benefit us physically, mentally, and emotionally?
All three of our components–mind, body, and soul–need a well-rounded array of everything. Stay true to what you love to learn about, but also inform yourself from trusted and reliable (emphasis on trusted and reliable) news sources about the reality of our universe. If you are unaware of the events going on outside of you, the trajectory of your path towards your goals will be a lot more difficult because you failed to plan for any changes in technology, our environment, and even our legal systems (i.e. the pandemic, A.I., climate change, etc.). You do not have to agree with every single statement or thought that someone or an organization will voice; ultimately, they need to make you feel safe, included, and inspired.
Nourishing the mind: Think of the podcasts, the music, the books, and the entertainment you choose to watch. If you’re escaping more than informing or learning (i.e. reality TV), it’s probably not the best for you every single day. Same goes with anything that negatively influences your reality, especially if movies or song lyrics happen to promote denigrating and even dangerous behaviors. Ideally, listen to music that affirm what you want to achieve, such as feeling your best, finding true love, experiencing abundant wealth and fun vibes, and so forth. Stories you read and watch will exhibit healthy relationship dynamics, including communication and boundary setting. There are also tons of podcasts that will teach you how to excel in your career, improve your health, and so forth.
On the flip side, you shouldn’t skew so extremely to the other direction. As previously mentioned, trying too hard to avoid potentially “bad news” may actually do more harm than good; if you’re actively shutting out news of something will heavily impact our reality out of fear, you may miss out on saving yourself. Lean into what will challenge you–that means your shadow side is actively listening, so hear what your shadow side wants to tell you. Doing so will enact positive personal development and direct you to anything that is healthier for you to consume.
Nourishing the body: Yes, the usual stands true: consume a diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and (if you eat them) animal products that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids. People will often have an opinion on every food–including that supposedly healthy ones–and their own incentive on why they eat them every single day or not at all. (just don’t fall for the fads!) The best approach with your own diet is to try one change and adjust accordingly, especially if they conflict with your religious/ethical beliefs and you develop an allergy or intolerance. Eat until you are comfortably full, even if you feel like you’ve had more than plenty or it’s a weird time in the day/evening (unless it’s 11:11 in the evening–make a wish!). However, eat the sushi, the slice of pizza, the ice cream cone, and the pandan waffle! Your life is all about trying new things, including delicacies that may not be ideal for frequent consumption.
This also applies to exercise. Ensure your workouts are enjoyable and not dreadful. You shouldn’t feel so exhausted that you can’t walk to your car. If you hit a plateau, it never hurts to try something new! For instance, I never thought I’d be obsessed with Pilates and Barry’s Bootcamp until early this year. However, just in 2021-2022, I was all about rock climbing and Peloton. Rest is still crucial; not resting (both sleep and rest days) reduces recovery time, so you’ll be more prone to injuries, chronic stress, and sleep problems.
Nourishing the soul: it’s called “soul food” for a reason! Yes, nourishing the soul is the toughest facet of life for many because it forces them to answer the deepest, often most painful questions. We tackle subconscious thoughts that have led us astray for the longest time and recognize that some of us need to remedy a great deal of our past. That may mandate ending relationships, leaving stable jobs, or making a tremendous investment with a looming fog of uncertainty just around the corner. Fortunately, when we do so, we achieve the best of the best that we can possibly fathom, surprising even ourselves along the way (hello, lucky girl syndrome)!
Now, we all recognize that therapy and physical treatments like massages and acupuncture are luxuries for many. Ways to nourish the soul can be as simple as spending more time in nature and less in front of the screens, journaling and meditating, nurturing hobbies, going on solo dates, and forming relationships that influence you positively and make you feel safe and secure. Note that what is good for the soul doesn’t always mean laughs, rainbows, and sunshines. Nourishing the soul also looks like crying in bed at 2:31 A.M. and doing nothing for a few hours (like, absolutely nothing); understand that you should not be afraid of your own emotions that have often been suppressed for external purposes (i.e. anger, sadness, indifference, regret, etc.). If you really cannot express them publicly, find a safe, private area to release.
To close off, don’t be ashamed if you end up making errors or even mistakes as a result of your consumption. Sure, people may judge you for your food choices, your relationships, and the fact that the last play on your Spotify wasn’t a self-help podcast, but hey, let’s embrace all forms of learning (that includes experience). Nourishment looks different for everyone–please, sometimes I just want to laugh and talk about situations as opposed to ideas, and I respectfully disagree that I can suffice an ice cream craving with a piece of fruit.
Let’s do the best that we can with our intentions and our expected outcomes. Intentions may require an entirely separate blog post, but they will change your decision-making tremendously depending on your circumstances. Also, while expected outcomes are helpful, they are not guaranteed nor are they owed (and I’ve learned this the hard way). At the very least, healthy consumption may help you feel that much better about yourself and your life overall.
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