The wicked problem I’m exploring in my field is the lack of self-worth that present day advertising brings to consumerism. These advertisements that we have to have the “latest and greatest” items bring feelings of instant gratification when we go out and buy them but on the other hand, if we don’t have these items, we sometimes don’t feel as good as another or as successful because we don’t have these material items. Modern advertising targets this emotion and hones in on it to get people to buy their “stuff” and as a result, more waste is created, less mindfulness is practiced, and we do not live our lives as deliberately as we should. A great way to counter some of these feelings is to practice mindfulness through meditation to focus on our values and our priorities.
Before about a year ago, I never considered meditating to be something I’d actually enjoy. I started meditating in my exercise classes, honestly because my options were leave early or stay for the meditation portion. This is just a taste of meditation because it is very short and difficult to get into the mindset for before the class is over and it’s time to leave. This small introduction to meditation taught me how valuable just a few minutes to oneself can be to set the tone for the day. Learning a few new techniques to increase energy, wind down, or just bring awareness to the breath was interesting because I didn’t know that breathing different ways could affect the body in such a major way. Meditation is a way to center the brain and is one way to be mindful; being mindful is being present in every aspect of life and being aware of actions to ensure they align with beliefs and values. For instance, it’s one thing to believe that recycling is good and want to help take care of the planet, but then getting a water bottle at the gas station, finishing half of it, and throwing the bottle out the window on the highway while on a road trip because there’s not a garbage can readily accessible. Mindfulness is making a conscious effort to pay attention very purposefully and be intentional with how to live life. We should all practice the balance that Marc Cohen discusses in his TED Talk of the difference between paranoia (thinking the world is out to get you) and pronoia (thinking the world is out to serve you), we should work to strike a healthy balance between these two things through mindfulness to keep ourselves in mind and to keep the environment we live in in mind as well. This is so vital when it comes to sustainability because it takes a conscious mindset to make changes and do so, rather than giving into the immediate satisfaction of what is right in front of us and convenient in that moment. The Mindfulness and Sustainability article brings up that the healthier we are, the more beneficial it is around us. Humans as a species are very selfish and if we are worried about our own mental or physical health or basic needs to survive, we won’t be concerned with anything going on around us because we can only focus on so much at one time. Thus focusing on our own mindfulness is important for our own health, but also could influence the environment in which we live because it gives us time to clear our heads, get into a good headspace, and turn our priorities to things that can make an impact and work towards making this impact to making the world more sustainable and pleasant to live.