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Emotional Drivers of Excess Consumption

You know those exciting ads, full of joy, laughter and movement, selling you junky drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Red Bull?  Do you watch them like I do, with a fierce longing to be in there with those happy, laughing people?  How easily we get sucked in and make the connection between being happy and drinking Coke!   The advertising industry has our measure, doesn’t it.

There is a sequence in The Story of Stuff when girls are sitting around and laughing at the young woman who is wearing last year’s fashion in shoes.  Have you ever been in a similar situation, being made to feel small or inadequate because you are not absolutely up to date in fashions or accessories?   Well, the advertisers have done a great job on you and your friends who laughed at you.

Did you know that, way back in 1929, a big advertising expert in America announced that the only way to keep people buying stuff was “. . . to keep them discontented”.  When you understand that as the goal of selling stuff to us, doesn’t it make you a bit mad?  How could we have let ourselves be so easily manipulated?

If you are really heavily influenced by advertising or jealousy around stuff other people have, you might need to work on developing your emotional resilience, so that you can make choices which are truly your own.

Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor. It’s been found that those who deal with minor stresses more easily can also manage major crises with greater ease, so resilience has its benefits for daily life as well as for the rare major catastrophe. (Retrieved from http://stress.about.com/od/understandingstress/a/resilience.htm)

As well as developing you emotional resilience, you will start to develop pride in your ability to do with less and be happier that way.  Taking pride in swopping, reusing, reworking last year’s outfits, repairing instead of throwing, will build your self esteem and help save our beautiful planet!  The same goes for not getting a new car, walking or biking instead of driving, picking your own home grown vegetables  – I could go on and on, but you get the idea.


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