Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Cut Your Over-Consumption

Over-consumption is something that poses a huge problem for many human populations on our our planet today. Of course it is unintentional. Things can take over your life. It’s all too easy to get caught up in indulgence. Perhaps you indulge in food. Maybe you drink too much alcohol or eat too many sweets. Or you might find that you shop for things you just don’t need.

Often this overconsumption is an attempt to fill a void. Boredom, sadness, stress and other emotions are a common cause of over-consumption. Take heart, there is a way to cut back and regain control of your life.

1. Find out why you over indulge. Spend some time meditating or contemplating why you’re overindulging. What emotion are you not trying to feel? What is the purpose for your over-consumption?

Cheetos are commonly considered a junk food.Image via Wikipedia2. Clean out. One of the best ways to regain control is to create a fresh start. Cleaning out your existing clutter is the first step. If you’re overindulging in junk food, clean out the cupboards. If you’re over-consuming on a particular type of food or beverage, get it out of your home. Take anything that’s unopened to your local homeless shelter.

If you have acquired belongings, get rid of what you don’t need. Consider using the three basket approach. Keep, toss, donate. Each item in your home will fit into one of those categories. If you’d like, create a fourth basket for items you can sell.

3. Create a place for everything in your home. Make sure everything has a place. This doesn’t mean shoving it into a closet. If it’s important enough to keep then it needs to have a proper place. Label, organize and display.

4. Don’t buy something unless you are giving something away or it has a specific purpose. Become aware of your consumption. For example, if you’re out to eat and you have a habit of over consumption, be aware of this. Choose your meal carefully. Limit yourself to only what you need. This step might be the most difficult. It requires conscious decision making. Ask yourself, “Do I need this?” and “Why do I need this” before each meal, purchase or drink.

Energy consumption per capita (2001). Red hues...Image via Wikipedia5. Budget. Budgeting helps you stay on top of consumption. It requires you to create a spending category for everything. This includes meals out, groceries, entertainment and purchases. Budgeting requires you to think through each purchase you make. It forces you to make a conscious decision. Most over consumption is not based on conscious decision making skills.

Finally, consider volunteering. When you spend your time giving back to others, you stop thinking so much about what you don’t have. Volunteer where your strengths, skills and interests best fit. When you focus on giving back to the world, you’ll be too busy to consume. You’ll also feel great about yourself. Gratitude is one of the best cures for over consumption.

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