5 ways to help us become a more Mindful Consumer

Updated: Oct 28, 2021


PC: Justin Lim on UnSplash


A famous, long reputed brand Levi’s has recently launched a campaign called Buy Better, Wear Longer. The campaign is angled at sending us, the consumers, a message to do exactly that - Buy Better, Wear Longer.


In the big debate of fast fashion and activist groups addressing the planet in crises, today, I’d like to pause a second to inspect the role of us, yes, you and me, as consumers, in deepening this climate crisis.


We head into a season of festivals in a couple weeks, but TODAY, more than ever, we need more of us like minded ones to make a concerted effort to decrease our carbon footprint.


So, how do we Buy better and What part do we play in the puzzle? To answer these, let's break this down into the following mindset questions -


1. WHEN we shop:


Research shows that our emotional states affect the quality of our purchase. In a state of happiness or sadness we may tend to buy more impulsively than when our mood states are neutral.


Being exposed to episodes of abusive or hurtful childhood episodes have shown the potential to lead to maladaptive coping behavior, like binge-buying or even shopping to maintain a certain social status (Dibb, Merendino, Aslam, Appleyard and Brambley, 2021); (Somer and Ruvio,2014).


Mindful Question – (for the next time you want to buy that lovely sweater) – Do I have something similar at home or could I do with the 2 other shades of red that I have at home?



2. HOW we shop:


It's time we ask ourselves, do we prefer to buy online? Or is it better to buy products in the store?


One multi-product order with a large online retailer could lead to multiple deliveries - to a single address.


The sheer human effort in bringing us one order is huge. How much do we support that?


Other logistical aspects aside, we can begin with considering the impact of having to ship / air drop our orders, as against having to buy them at a store.


Like my parents say, there is a certain charm in how you can touch and feel a product before buying it, while it also avoids returns and repeat costs on a single product transaction.


Mindful Question/s – How urgent is this purchase? Can it wait for a couple more days or for later in the month? Can this be bought at a store close to you?



3. WHY we shop:


Mindful Question - What is our relation to the products we buy?


There is a good chance that we don’t know answers to our buying patterns. But I urge that you spend a few mins today, reflecting about this question.


Look at what responses arise instantly for you and try to listen to what comes up without any judgment or criticism.


The answers may vary. It could be to make you look good or to look like you are socially and financially competent or even because things give you a certain rush or kick, that sets right the strong feedback you received in the presentation today.


Just becoming aware of the reasons, we shop - simply the awareness, will help us make a different choice, if we wish to.



4. WHAT can we let go of?


Mindful Question – What products can you do away to serve our home and community better?


Our family has started buying less clothes, less products while also being mindful of recycling clothes or giving products a second life.


For us who are habituated to use new products, know that making this change is possible, even if it takes a bit of discipline and effort.



5. SHARE Resources:


Car rides, food deliveries and online orders are all using shared resources to deliver our goods to us.


Mindful Question/s - What resources are we sharing with our neighbor or community? Is it our backyard for a community event or possibly our carpentry tools that are on a community share page?


The answer to our planet crises lies in healing ourselves (Sattman-Frese and Hill 2008) and healing our need for externalities to fill that void inside. The more easily we can ask for help, the easier it will be for us to become less worried materialistically and more connected to each other.


Please leave us your comments below and do share this article with your community as a conversation starter. It might be the one push that we need to start collaborating!


Here's wishing us all a Joyous and Prosperous seasons of festivals, where we become more conscious, mindful consumers of products.




PC : Mark Tegethoff on UnSplash



Continue learning about these topics –


Consumer Psyche - https://www.businessoffashion.com/podcasts/retail/retail-reborn-podcast-doug-stephens-consumer-psyche


Shared Economy - https://www.moneycrashers.com/sharing-economy/



REFERENCES:


Dibb, S., Merendino, A., Aslam, H., Appleyard, L., & Brambley, W. (2021). Whose rationality? Muddling through the messy emotional reality of financial decision-making. Journal of Business Research, 131, 826-838.


Sansone RA, Chang J, Jewell B, Rock R. Childhood trauma and compulsive buying. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2013 Feb;17(1):73-6. doi: 10.3109/13651501.2011.653379. Epub 2012 Feb 1. PMID: 22296513.


Sattmann-Frese, W. J., & Hill, S. B. (2008). Learning for Sustainable Living. Lulu. com.


Somer, E., & Ruvio, A. (2014). The going gets tough, so let's go shopping: On materialism, coping, and consumer behaviors under traumatic stress. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 19(5), 426-441. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2013.794670


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