Having a class and reading on mindfulness truly made me more aware of my health. Anxiety runs in my family and I have never had major issues with it until I experienced my first panic attack a couple months ago. I have never really thought that my anxiety has been something to worry about, in fact I have kind of thought of it as a way that it motivates me to get things finished. I realized from this class that this was most definitely not the case. I never really take time to sit back and think about how anxiety drains me of my energy so much and how toxic it is to my attitude and mindset every day. It was so nice to focus on mindfulness and realize how I can make myself slow down for just a couple minutes every day and focus on who I am, where I am, and what is happening in the present. A wise man once said “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God which is why we call it the present.” (Bil Keane) This quote is great because it really emphasizes the importance of living in the moment and how we as human beings, should focus on what is going on around us. This was also a new idea to me that mindfulness can have an impact on sustainability because I had never thought of it that way before. It makes sense because if we are more aware of nature and our environment (cue the peace signs and bell bottoms) then we can realize what our world of consumerism is doing to our world of nature. Sometimes I become so wrapped up in my own world and focus on all my own problems going on that I never really take a chance to realize what is going on outside of “my world.” I think this relates a lot to the “No” article we talked about in class because the writer talked about consumerism and how it is such a big issue with our environment. Consumerism keeps us wrapped up in our own worlds because it is so materialistic and our faces are always buried in our laptops, tv’s, and phones. We never take a chance to step outside and appreciate the beauty of nature enough to realize what is happening to it. Or we never take a chance to step outside our own worlds and clear the mess in our minds and just be present.
Although I do believe consumerism plays a role in our environment issues, I feel as though it is such a hard situation to tackle. Consumerism and globalization is what drives our economy and it has been like that since Americans first got to America and traded with the Native Americans. I do believe it is a shame that luxuries have turned into necessities and continue to do so and that we can’t all live simply, but I believe that’s just the way our economy is. Consumerism is built off of marketing, business, merchandising, etc and that does consist of a lot of majors in school. The industry lives off the exchange of selling and buying and studying consumers for what they want and how to appeal to them the best. Heck there’s even a job where you can work for a company and creep on consumers’ search engines to study better ways to attract them to your online ads or find ways to pop up ads in other websites they go on. It is a little creepy yes, but I am just stating that this is the way the economy is and if people tried to change it I think there would be a lot of arguments and I don’t know if it would necessarily work since marketing is such a big concept.
Talking about this and debating it in class made me realize how big of a problem consumerism really is. If you take Thanksgiving for example, and notice that stores will actually open on Thanksgiving day just to make more sales and hype up their new products. My parents often tell me when they were my age that stores weren’t even open on Thanksgiving day or Thanksgiving night. It is very hard for me to think of a solution to this topic because it seems so complex due to the market continuously growing. People are always going to want gadgets that can make their lives’ easier and more entertaining and I believe that is most peoples’ nature. Perhaps we could bring more awareness to it such as talking about mindfulness and meditation more. Maybe companies could add that idea of mindfulness into their brands or maybe their advertising and marketing techniques to help consumers notice that. For example, Lululemon and Athleta are great companies for active wear and they sell yoga mats and encourage healthy lifestyles with selling cute trendy active wear and fun water bottles. They have fun mottos and catch phrases that encourage working on your body which I think could have a positive impact on mentality and mindfulness. If consumerism is one of the biggest issues, then we should look for a solution directly where the problem lies which is the marketing. If marketing is always going to be a major concept by catching a consumer’s attention, then let’s catch their attention with some positivity and mindfulness to help with what we want for this world.