What if…money can buy us happiness?

My overall theme is living consciously so we can thrive, not just survive. My first book was about conscious spending. Recently I’ve been writing about conscious health.

Health and spending money don’t seem to be related. But actually they are, because happiness is a contributor to our overall health.

In this short TED talk, based on research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Michael Norton explains that relationship. Continue reading

Cultivating Health

We live in a culture oriented toward goals rather than processes. The expectation is that we set a goal, achieve it, and then that’s done. It’s a linear way of looking at things, and it works for some people in some instances. Health doesn’t work that way.

Achieving health is an organic process with built-in feedback loops. As changes are made, we get internal information about what’s working and what isn’t. Then we adjust accordingly and go from there. Like gardening. Continue reading

Conscious Spending: A Solution to Stuffocation

Stuffocation-the-feeling

In a BBC viewpoint article about the hazards of too much stuff, trend forecaster James Wallman describes an American study documenting what most of us already know—that we have a lot of things in our houses.

According to Wallman, 2 out of 3 people wish they had less stuff. These people are experiencing what he calls stuffocation—an intriguing word that describes the feeling of drowning in stuff. Not surprisingly, the resulting clutter crisis leads to mental stress, which causes physiological symptoms such as elevated cortisol levels. In this way, the mental stress of excess damages our physical health.

I’m with him until he proposes that we solve the problem of excess stuff by spending our money on experiences instead of things. Continue reading

A book I’d have written if I hadn’t been writing mine

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Part 4 of my book Conscious Spending, Conscious Life is about health, safety and integrity of the future. It covers food and toxics, among other things. People are often surprised that I included health in a book about consumerism. But the truth is, food has become the ultimate consumer good—commercially grown, highly processed, and heavily marketed.

Navigating the consumer culture—unharmed—is a tricky task these days. Remaining healthy is one of the challenges. Despite relative wealth and an abundance of food products in North America, we continue to become more and more unhealthy.

Much of what we call “food” really isn’t. The dictionary defines food as “material that is used by the body to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes, as well as to furnish energy.” In a consumer culture, it is so easy to make poor choices and eat a lot that fills us up but doesn’t support our bodies in carrying out vital life processes. The choices we make can end up haunting us sooner or later.

When we become conscious of what we eat and try to do the right thing, we’re faced with confusing and conflicting information to sort through. While I was writing my section about food and toxics, I was frustrated by not having enough space to say everything I wanted to.

So I’m happy to tell you about a book I discovered Continue reading