Before your next checkout… Breathe
Turn off your Auto-pilot.
I am a big advocate of shopping online; lesser hassle, bigger catalogue, no queues, better deals, and frankly, I am quite lazy to stroll down different stores browsing for something, which could be a few clicks away (usually cheaper!)
Online shopping gives you a good kick of dopamine rush, from grabbing that great jeans at an incredible discount or finally finding that pair of shoes from Pinterest. And it gets even better, you now have help! Notice the ads on websites? They follow your browsing history like grammar nazi read your messages. They sit silently, observing, watching, learning, about your habits, what makes you tick, and pops up at the precise moment you contemplate buying something. You begin making vivid and elaborate memories about your wishlist, creating outfits, hunting for the right combination all for soothing your vanity. Provoke sentiments that impel you to buy items, you know you might never use more than a couple of times. These companies pay big money to Facebook, Google, and most other major corporation out there to get to know you! (and billion others in the process). They even hire human psychology experts, fund their research, all so it’s easier for you to press that checkout button, for buying the stuff you always dreamed of wearing (twice)!
You also cannot play the victim card here, and claim it’s not your fault. You are the one who checks out, spend hours browsing stuff you don’t need until you see the one. Like prevailing obesity; our spending habits over the years have altered, we spend more and more on items we don’t have much use of.
Problem lies in our lack of restraint. Self Control.
Fortunately for you and me, there is also a simple solution for the menace (growing obesity, excessive spending, and Trump presidency campaign).
I am not asking you to meditate for hours a day to practise this, nor am I asking you to abstain yourself from the pleasures of life. I am inviting you to, just take a long breath before you press that checkout button. That’s it.
Collect your thoughts, think whether you still need all that you are about to buy. If your life is going to be better with it and it’s going to add value to your life, go ahead check out. If not, just close that tab. Poof!
It’s empowering. In that moment, you observe your thoughts and emotions, lust, fancy, jealousy, for what they really are. No judgement passed, completely normal. You then have a choice; if you don’t need them, simply shut all that stuff away in a black plastic bag, take a ride on the Slice of Life and dump it in the middle of the vast ocean where no one needs to know the time you spent procrastinating. Let the emotion pass. Breathe. If you still choose to buy, it’s perfectly fine also. Because you acted on your choice and reason, no longer were you buying on autopilot or being coaxed into buying something you didn’t want. This time, it was your choice.
I smile every time I do this, whether it’s eating another sizzling hot chocolate brownie on waffles with cream, smoking another cigarette, or getting a new Tee. I gain a little self-control every time I don’t indulge (or do) in these activities. Take a long hard pause before you indulge. Breathe. Let the emotion pass. Then Act.