Commodified Mindfulness: How to Be Tuned In Without Going Broke

colorful pebbles

Within the past few years, practicing mindfulness has reached new heights. From gratitude journals to Urban Outfitters’-branded smudging kits, we have seen a surge of products hit the market that claim to enhance your spirituality and get you into living a more mindful life. Mindfulness has become a widespread trend, for better or worse.

But really, do we need a notebook with the words “Gratitude Journal” embossed on the cover to form a gratefulness habit? Is incense packaged at a factory for Urban Outfitters really going to lead to life-altering realizations?

I’m all for living in the present moment and getting in touch with yourself on a deeper level, and this surge of non-denominational spirituality is pretty cool in that way–it’s relatable, no matter what you believe in. However, buying a quartz point and expecting instant life-changing results is a mislead mindset.

So what resources and commodities are useful, and how can we be more mindful beings without overloading our lives with “stuff?”

yoga outdoors woman in autumn

Get to the Root of Your Mindfulness Practice

There are plenty of practices out there for achieving a more mindful lifestyle. Along with many of those practices can come products that are meant to enhance or help the habit along. But are these items really crucial in achieving the goals of these practices?

Getting to the heart of your practice helps to identify what you need in order to foster mindfulness. Get to know yourself in terms of how you learn. What truly helps you to create long-lasting habits in everyday life?

Will a hematite ring help you to stay grounded and positive? If you truly believe so, then go for it! But be sure to pair this with, say, a nature walk meditation. Just as you would take a vitamin supplement, add to your mindfulness practice with items that will help you toward your goals.

Just remember: these items are not a replacement for a practice, and they won’t provide you with instant results. Mindfulness takes some work at first, but it’s the best work you can do for yourself!

Are You Buying Stuff Just to Buy Stuff?

Throwing your money away on gratitude journals and mobile apps promising spiritual enlightenment does not guarantee achievement of a mindful lifestyle. If you’re looking to follow a gratitude practice, is a $20 journal with “Gratitude” written in gold leaf on the cover going to guarantee enlightenment, or will a spiral-bound notebook from the dollar store suffice? Mindfulness shouldn’t break the bank; in fact, it should probably be doing the opposite!

There are some products that have been great supplements in my mindfulness practices. I find that the more products and routines that I add to my practice, though, the more anxious I become. Mindfulness then becomes a chore, something that I need to keep track of, and therefore becomes undesirable. Mindfulness practices are no place for clutter.

For me, practicing short meditations and yoga sessions is enough to keep my mind in the present. I use a wellness tracker in my planner, and I’ll arrange a few stones before me that relate to what I’m looking for internal insight on.

amethyst crystalI don’t claim to be an expert on crystal healing, and the way I use crystals may not be what is typical. Using stones as talismans for what I want to attract into my life has proven to be very useful. For example, when I am feeling a bit disconnected from myself, I place amethyst in front of me as I meditate. It acts as a visual reminder to catch up with my inner self, and brings about feelings of balance and healing.

Some Great Resources

science of happiness podcast logo

There are mindfulness podcasts popping up everywhere nowadays! Two of my favorites: The Science of Happiness podcast and the Hannahlyze This! Podcast (I’m a huge Hannah Hart fan).  

Both of these podcasts demonstrate difference mindfulness and happiness practices, and the results of each. Hannahlyze This! Is a bit more tangential, but really fun and brings mindfulness practices down from their lofty existentialist cloud.

The Zen app: for $35.99, you get a year’s worth of full access to the app. Subscribing was completely accidental on my end, but I’m so glad I forgot to unsubscribe before the trial was up! I love their guided meditations, and the app has been a very vital asset in starting up my meditation practice.


Using mindfulness practices such as journaling, meditation and yoga has helped me to uncover a lot about myself. It can be difficult to look at yourself with honest eyes, but it can aid in diffusing a whole lot of negativity in your life. Being mindful has personally helped my depression and anxiety to diminish, and has allowed my interpersonal relationships to flourish.

While it’s growth in popularity can be very positive, the capitalization of spiritual growth is a bit of a downfall. We shouldn’t have to empty our wallets in order to be more connected with ourselves. Having products pushed at us that make false promises is incredibly damaging. There are plenty of things out there that can help mindfulness habits in their formation, but concentrating on getting into the practices themselves is key.

For lack of a better term, be mindful about your mindfulness! Don’t buy stones and journals and tapestries expecting them to enlighten you. Surround yourself with meaningful practice, and the rest will fall into place.