Changing the World Can Start with Our Wallets.
Upgrading our health isn’t just about the foods we consume or endurance exercises we practice, it’s also about how we invest in all categories of life. One of the most empowering practices is mindful spending. Every decision at the checkout line and every click towards our online cart sends a powerful message out into the universe. The brands we put in power affect millions of People and the Planet. Micro-decisions matter, so who are you voting for? Below is a handy checklist to keep in mind next time you head to the supermarket.
But first, let’s define mindful spending.
Simply put, mindful spending means to think before you spend. That sounds very simple, but lack of discipline in personal finances actually accounts for the exorbitant amounts of debt in society. In fact, the average U.S. household owes over $15,000 in credit card debt. Science and psychology go hand in hand with spending mindfully. According to the book Mind Over Money, investing in experiences is the ultimate mind hack. Spending money on activities that bring a warm glow of memories, for example, is far more fulfilling than material objects like a new TV that simply induce a dopamine rush (and later drop our dopamine levels.)
The Top 3 Most Important Questions to Ask Before You Buy:
- What does the company’s supply chain look like?
Understanding what supplies a company uses and where they come from is an important aspect of shopping mindfully. It comprises of the vendors that supply raw materials, the producers who convert the material into products, the warehouses that store them, and the distribution centers that deliver the goods to retailers. Truly, a supply chain is an interconnected web of processes, which is why it’s incredibly important to understand what you are really investing your money in. The coffee market is a prime example of the importance of understanding a company’s supply chain. Seeking out products that are stamped with a Rainforest Alliance certification, like Bulletproof coffee, means you are investing in brands that protect biodiversity, support the farmers and communities, and promote decent living and working conditions for them too.
- What impact does this product make on my body?
Whether it’s a new perfume or even the latest tech gadget, it’s paramount to ask yourself “what does this really do to my body?” Many cosmetics, for instance, are ridden with parabens, synthetic fragrances, and even lead. Such toxins bioaccumulate and can lead to long-term health problems. Perfumes are prone to being a potent cocktail of artificial fragrances that can cause skin irritations and respiratory issues. Even the cleaning products we use can cause a dizzying list of side-effects. Sadly, even our favorite electronic devices can cause bodily harm. Cell phones, cordless phones, and routers are major EMF (electromagnetic fields) culprits and can cause massive mitochondrial dysfunction due to microwave radiation and free radical damage. Even the blue lights emitted from our computer screens and mobile devices can do a number on our health by destroying melatonin production and disrupting our sleep cycles.
Pro tip: The good news is that there are ways to combat EMFs and blue light. There are even crystals like pyrite and magnetite that ward off EMFs and can be placed around your computers. Blue light blocking glasses can also be worn to block the junk light that radiates from our devices.
- Does this product hurt or help the planet?
It’s important to do a little research and find out if your favored products are ethically made and whether or not they contribute to pollution and emissions. Plastic bottles, for instance, are one of the most common examples of a standard supply and demand that wreaks havoc on the earth. In fact, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and between 5 million and 13 million tons of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans every year. The wildlife that ingest this plastic carry its toxicity onto our dinner plates – this hurts our bodies and the biosphere at the same time. That’s why it’s important to seek out brands that design for recyclability, only make products out of materials that have value, and make products that have a consistent recapture system. Next time, consider skipping the plastic bags, using glass bottles, and reusing containers we already own.
Pro-tip: Banks like Aspiration are a humanity plus brand that have an AIM score (Aspiration Impact Measurement) which actually inspires users to shop with a conscience. For every purchase, you are able to locate a company’s People and Planet score. The higher the score, the better these brands treat the planet and its employees.