Materialism is hurting our health and happiness. Instead of feeling enriched by the things we own, we are stifled by them. Having more stuff is no longer better, it’s worse.
We are in the grip of stuffocation. That’s the conclusion of James Wallman, in his book by the same name. The good news: the age of materialism is on the decline, to be superseded by an exciting new age of experientialism.
Experientialism, as espoused by Wallman, involves finding happiness, living a more meaningful life and expressing status through experiences, rather than material possessions.
Stuffocation provides an entertaining exploration and analysis of research from the fields of anthropology, psychology and economic history on the predicament we are in, how we got here and how a focus on experiences over things can make us happier. But it’s not just all stats and facts, woven throughout the book are the stories of everyday people seeking to live less materialistic ways. Heavy meets light in a charming and convincing way.
Stuffocation is not a how-to book – although it does offer seven habits of a highly effective experientialist and recommends three steps towards implementing experientialism in your own life.
I’m on a mission to reduce my food waste and I’ll be checking in regularly on how I’m doing as part of #FoodWasteFriday.
How to avoid food waste traps
I want to share with you this TED talk on How to Avoid Food Waste Traps by Selina Juul. Selina founded the Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark (which is a leading nation when it comes to reducing food waste). Selina goes through common food waste traps and ways to avoid them. I particularly like her tip to take a photo of the inside of your fridge before you go shopping so you can remember what you’ve already got.
So, you want to slow down? Where do you start? What does slow living even look like in the real world? You’ve got commitments and responsibilities! Don’t worry, slowing down doesn’t mean you’ve got to ditch everything and park yourself up in a hammock.
My approach is “slow not lazy” – slowing down doesn’t mean doing nothing. In fact, slowing down can help you to achieve more of what really matters.
My commitments and responsibilities used to leave me feeling worn out and overwhelmed, but today, I thrive on them. What changed? A lot, but the most important thing was my mindset.
“Everyone’s rushing around, and look at you – sitting there all calm!”. I was at a women’s networking breakfast in the lead up to Christmas. The meeting was due to start and everyone was rushing in flustered and fussing around as they took their seats. When a colleague leaned in and made this remark to me, little did she know the burst of pride and empowerment I felt.
I was calm. Not because of my schedule, commitments and responsibilities, I was calm despite of them. I’d just dropped my son to preschool. I had to leave the breakfast meeting early to tutor a class for a sick colleague (swinging past home on the way to pick up my husband who needed the car). After finding a ride back to my office, I had an hour to finalise my work for the year before back-to-back meetings until it was time to collect my son. It was one of those crazy days. Days like these used to leave me a frantic, frazzled mess. But there I was – calm, focused and present. Surrounded by a tide of busyness, I felt its presence, but it didn’t sweep me away. This is slow living in the real world. Continue reading “Taking your first steps to slow living in the real world”