September 21, 2010

Hoarding: a Lifestyle in Opposition to Simple Living

I admit it, I do catch the occaional episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC TV.  I couldn't tell you when it airs, but I can tell you that everytime I watch the show, it makes me get up and dust or vacuum or do a load of laundry.  Something.  Maybe part of this is because (personal revelation, dear reader!) my mother, looking back, was obviously a hoarder.  So was my first husband's mother.  Wow, there's some food for thought.

Me?  I don't hoard.  Maybe living this lifestyle of voluntary simplicity in some way is reacting to that background - that's sounding plausible.  All I know is that organizing and simplifying seems smart and wise and it's a peaceful, joyful life.

Hoarding - The Reasons for It

As a result of the show, and as I pondered this personal connection with hoarders, I did go surfing around investigating hoarding.  I learned hoarding is a compulsion, with both psychological and physical components.  I learned that lots of professionals discuss anger and anxiety as emotions felt by haorders when faced with the idea of throwing anything away.

I'm not arguing with any of that -- from my experience, this all sounds true.  However, from my experience, there's something that isn't being discussed here.  From what I know of hoarding, it's a twisted way of dealing with a major loss.  It's a grief thing.  It's got a depression component and a thread of denial runs through it, but at its core - its a strange way of fighting against loss. 

Why share this with you, Dear Reader?  Because There's Simplifying Lesson Here for Us All

In the process of simplifying your life - be it downsizing, going green, living frugally or living slowly or moving to a one-income household, or expatriating - and there are lots of varieties of simple living, some of those hoarder reactions seem familiar.

There's the stuff.  Stuff you don't want to get rid of, even if you don't need it and will never use it.  There are all those boxes of memories - the kid's school papers, your old college textbooks - that need to be culled. 

Letting go of stuff is hard.  It involves loss.  Simplifying is hard.  There's an emotional component to the process.  It's worth it, but in no way is it easy.  Simplifying your life may not be simple at all. 

God bless you, Dear Reader.

Doctor Mark Hyman Decries Conventional Medicine in HuffPo: The Rising Awareness of Lifestyle Medicine

Dr. Mark Hyman (M.D.) practices medicine and writes bestselling books (he's made the New York Times Bestsellers list four times so far). Dr. Hyman also founded The Ultra Wellness Center, and is considered to be a world-wide leader in "functional medicine" - so when he writes an article for the Huffington Post (the top blog in the country per Technorati), people pay attention. 

The article is entitled, "Millions Die Due to Withheld Medical Treatment" and if you can't read it at the link (it will be archived at some point), feel free to check Dr. Hyman's website or contact me -- I've saved a copy in OneNote because I don't want to lose it.)

Practicing Physician Claims Conventional Medicine Corrupted by Greed

You should, too.  Why?  Because Dr. Hyman is standing up against a huge contingent of his peers when he writes that conventional medicine today is corrupt: that by its co-dependence upon the big pharmaceutical companies, the true cures for such major diseases as diabetes and heart disease lies in lifestyle medicine

What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Since lifestyle medicine isn't as profitable as conventional methods, it's being ignored according to Dr. Hyman and the result is akin to the Tuskegee Experiments of the 1920s (and if you don't know about this  horror, it's worth your time to stop and read what Dr. Hyman's written - just to learn about this).  

Dr. Hyman's providing lots of information on the web to help people - his website is great, so is the UltraWellness Center.  For example, check out his free series of articles online, "7 Keys to Ultrawellness."  Great stuff in here. 

Lifestyle Medicine Incorporates Simple Living.  Wow. 

Dr. Hyman promotes many of the things that simplifiers value.  Things like eating whole, fresh, organic foods.  Foods that you cook yourself in ovens and on stovetops.  Avoiding bad stuff like high fructose corn syrup and mercury.  Exercising.  Getting enough rest.  Avoiding stress.  Drinking lots of good water.  Taking vitamins. Taking herbs, too. Understanding detoxification. (Did you know that internalized stress can make you fat? Wow.) 

Want to Learn More About Lifestyle Medicine?

To learn more, check out his personal site or Dr. Hyman's UltraWellness website (where he offers a free ebook and lotsa free videos), follow him on Twitter (, or surf around for "lifestyle medicine" where you'll find good sites to learn from, including: 

American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Harvard Medical School's Lifestyle Medicine Institute
The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine
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