Here in the USA, Friday is the start of the holiday shopping season. I'm here to gently invite you to consider the idea of buying things. Anything. Even food.
What? You Don't Want Me To Buy Food?
I don't want or not want you to buy anything in particular. Instead, I'm inviting you to bring attention and intention to your purchases. You do this by bringing attention to the idea of the purchase, and noticing what sensations arise in your body when you do that. You also do that by considering how your future self might feel about what you're purchasing.
Pause Before You Purchase
The next time the idea pops into/out of your head to buy something—that you "need" it or want it or as a gift or whatever—pause and investigate the sensations in your body. Be curious about them. Are they familiar? Do they speak to a pattern of some sort? At what other times do you tend to experience them? Furthermore, what thoughts travel with them? Is there a story around the purchase that you're telling yourself that makes the purchase okay or even necessary?
We humans are driven to grasp "good" feelings and push away "bad" ones. Is it possible that your purchase idea or urge is related to wanting to feel something in particular or stop feeling something in particular?
Have you ever gone grocery shopping while hungry? The foods I purchase when I do that are dramatically different, as are the quantities. It's as if I'm possessed by a hangry, junk-food-eating spirit who no longer values fresh fruits and vegetables.
I Want Food Becomes I Want
It turns out that we don't just buy more food when we're hungry. We buy other things we might not need, too (check out the research here). Here's an explanation of the pause practice, which is intended to help you be the person you want to be. It's intended to have your present actions be aligned with who you want to be in the future. After all, you're creating your future self with your present habits.
Here's more on pausing . . .
When you find yourself about to purchase something, STOP.
Take a deep breath with long exhales and investigate the sensations in your body.
Ask yourself what those sensations remind you of or make you think about.
Ask yourself what you need in that moment. Maybe it's an emotion you're looking for. Maybe it's a feeling.
Freewrite for two minutes (don't worry about punctuation or grammar) about what you're experiencing around the purchase you want to make.
and/Or ask yourself, "Is this purchase something tomorrow-me will be happy about?" "Do I want to be the kind of person who bought this today?"
Is this purchase in the service of who I want to be?
Have a peaceful day.