Has consumerism become consuming?

How many times have you heard someone say “I just found this amazing silk jacket. It was only ninety-five dollars. I saw it last week for three hundred dollars. What a deal!

Now, let’s be real here. Is anyone naive enough to believe that the jacket was ever really worth three hundred dollars? No, it’s more than likely worth twenty dollars, since it probably came from a factory overseas where people make fifty cents an hour, if their lucky. You consider yourself fortunate to have found this “bargain” because you’ve saved money buying something you probably don’t need.

Shopping has become a national pastime and has ended up creating overtaxed credit cards and new job opportunities for people who know how to get rid of the excess stuff you bought and tired of. I can’t even imagine my grandmother or mother hiring a closet organizer or having a yard sale. In their generation, people weren’t pressured by modern marketing techniques that seduced them into always desiring something new and different.

We, on the other hand, are constantly bombarded every waking moment, with images of what’s new and exciting. How many times have you heard “You can’t have too many black pants”? When God speaks to you and throws lightning bolts into your closet? Or perhaps when your closet explodes and sends pieces of cloth throughout the house.

Of course, you have too many black pants. I know I probably have more than Jonny Cash did. The irony is that I find myself wearing the same ones over and over! In fact I can say that about a lot of my wardrobe. I really am considering going to a tailor and having them make me seven tops and pants in different colors. That would cut to the chase. No more pondering about which outfit or how it would fit since my weight has often influenced my clothing selections. As a result I could easily clothe a variety of body types. At this stage in my life it would be such a joy to slip on something I knew I could get over my head easily, that would embrace my chest without strangling it and would allow me some extra bloat at the end of the day. Being bloated seems to be an ongoing problem. I worry that someday I might end up looking like a large helium balloon.

Has consumerism become consuming? I feel that it has. But that’s just one women’s opinion. I tire of seeing commercials trying to make us feel as if we are missing out and sounds as if our lives will change miraculously if we buy ” IT”. No amount of clothing, potions, or creams can make us feel good for long. Our greatest path to well-being is about how we nurture our minds and bodies. You just can’t buy that!

Smile…It makes you feel good and it is FREE!

You might not be aware of the fact that there is a “misery index” and that statisticians can measure it. The latest finding is that misery is higher than it ever was. That means there is less joy, less laughter and less fun being had by the general public. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, economics, feeling overwhelmed, and the constant fear messages that we are assaulted with on a daily basis.

We spend a lot of time railing about eating healthy and exercising. The latest debate centers on whether too much sitting will kill you. This comes on the heels of a study that said too much standing will give you orthopedic problems. I wonder what would happen if you smiled too much or had too much fun? I haven’t seen one study on this and maybe that’s why the misery index is climbing.

Very little rhetoric is spent on encouraging the general public to smile, laugh, be silly or just plain enjoy yourself. What’s fascinating is that every one of the aforementioned can influence your health for the better. If you eat your fruits and vegetables and exercise daily, but you’re a miserable wretch, you may live longer, but what’s the point?

If you were to park your car on a busy street and observe people walking by, you would see an inordinate amount of stern faces and clenched jaws, and just plain grumpy looks. These uptight faces, in turn, create uptight bodies, which the brain translates into stress. As children, you had from eighteen to twenty facial expressions. By the time you became an adult, you were down to four. This information comes from a study on facial expressions. We are inculturated to believe that in order to transition into being a “real” adult we have to lose being too expressive. After all you could be thought of as foolish or ridiculous and therefore not be taken seriously.

Researchers now see the face as a body organ of its own. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that facial expressions precede feelings and play a role in generating them. The head of plastic surgery at a local hospital told me that as we age, our faces set more and more into a mask. If this is true, it’s important to keep our facial muscles flexible by laughing. We need to exercise our facial muscles. Kids make silly faces all the time, try it sometime.

A pleasant smile can help you to have a relaxed mental state and a healthy body. It doesn’t mean that you have to keep a goofy grin plastered on your face all day. But it costs nothing to start your day with a smile. You’re liable to get a wonderful reaction—someone just might smile back!.