New research co-authored by Kogod School of Business Marketing Professor Sonya A. Grier titled, “Mindfulness: Its Transformative Potential for Consumer, Societal, and Environmental Well Being,” proposes that mindfulness is an antidote to the adverse impacts of mindless consumption done out of automatic thoughts, habits, and unhealthy behavior patterns.
The study published in the Fall issue of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, highlights some of the challenges to realizing the transformative potential of mindful consumption and concludes with suggestions for consumers, institutions, and policy makers to promote mindful consumption.
“Consumers can engage in mindful consumption practices to potentially mitigate the adverse effects that mindless consumption, such as overeating and drinking, or frivolous shopping, has on an individual’s well -being,” said Grier.
Mindfulness is a type of awareness that enables a trained mind to make deliberate choices and be less susceptible to persuasive messaging. For the untrained mind, objective awareness is regularly sidetracked by an abundance of memories, perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and judgements, resulting in the squandering of time, energy, and attention, which are all limited resources for consumers.
“In a fast-paced world, mindful consumption can help consumers stay in touch with the most important priorities in their lives and help them self-regulate to make choices based on those priorities instead of bad habits,” said Grier.
To practice mindful consumption, Grier recommends having awareness of what triggers unhealthy behavior or relationships, pay attention to the body’s reaction to the consumption of food or products, and to understand the impermanence of cravings. The study also recommends being aware of underlying motives to spend money, the value placed on material items and of constructing a sense of identity based on material goods.