Tis the season to shop until you drop, right!? Oh wait, tis the season to shop online because of all of the amazing Cyber-sales, right!? Okay, okay…. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this is the season where you can find huge discounts and sales. I must say, as I was browsing online, I found myself getting lost in all of the amazing deals. My first thought was, “Holy S#%^ ! I need to get that comforter NOW, before it goes back up to full price.
So here’s my question, “Why do we make purchases even when we know that we probably shouldn’t? It’s that rush, right? You got the deal that you wanted. Sometimes you get it by purchasing things that you never know if you are ever going to use, but HA! You got it! What happens next is that you feel good… You feel excited…. Your endorphins kick in, and you feel that rush. Your parasympathetic system goes into high alert. Then what happens? That rush starts to fade. So what do you do? You make another purchase! You make purchases based on emotions, sometimes not thinking things all the way through.
There is actually a term for the condition afflicitng shopaholics, foodaholics, binge TVwatchers, social media cruisers, and people compulsively engaged in anything that takes you away from the present moment. It is called Soft Addiction. This is a term created by Dr. Judith Wright, author of the book The Soft Addiction Solution. Soft Addictions rob us of time, money, energy, emotions, and consciousness—and generally reduce the quality of our life. Soft Addiction is when you allow your unconscious mind to get lost in an activity. You stop connecting with yourself, and you get lost in what you are doing. This then takes you to the next thing and to the next thing, and before you know it; an hour has gone by! You lose track of what you are feeling in the moment. Sure, you feel the rush kick in, but how nourishing does it feel? You bought the new shoes, you start wearing them, now what? Are you feeling fully satisfied?
What exactly is nourishment?
According to the dictionary,1 nourishment is defined as valuable substances required to live, grow, or remain fit and healthy; or something that provides a stimulating and healthy emotional or intellectual environment. As a verb, to nourish means to help something grow and develop. So, anything that helps you grow and develop is nourishing. And growing is nourishing! It includes such things as nutrition, water, sleep, and exercise, but true nourishment goes far beyond common elements. Anything that helps you grow is nourishing. That means even circumstances that move you forward in your life are nourishing. And that includes not just successes, victories, and instances of wellbeing but also upsets, setbacks, failures, difficult situations, frustrations, conflicts, hardships, and things not working out the way you’d hoped—all are nourishing if you learn and grow from them.
So this holiday season, when you find yourself going for your next purchase, ask yourself one of the following questions: “Why am I purchasing this item?” “Do I really need this item, or am I just killing time?” “What am I feeling in the moment?” “Am I numbing down a feeling?” “Did I just have a fight with my spouse?” “Am I feeling unsatisfied at work?” “When was the last time I connected with someone?” Rather than going for the quick rush, maybe call up a loved one, or go grab lunch with a co-worker. If you’re in the Soft Addiction zone perhaps call yourself out on it. “Wow, I’ve been shopping online for an hour now, I’m totally engulfed in my Soft Addictions” (bad habits.) Be aware of where you are, and how you feel in the present moment.
Give yourself the gift of self-love and nourishment! There is no price tag on it, and you of all people deserve it!
Rumaisa Rahman Khawaja
Your Life and Relationship Coach at Mandala Integrative Medicine
 Dr. Judith Wright, Soft Addictions: What’s Preventing you From Getting More Time, Money, Energy, Love, and Satisfaction? Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin New York, NY.