At first glance, minimalism might appear to be no more than spring cleaning on copious amounts of coffee— While a clutter-free home is certainly one of its perks, the minimalist lifestyle is actually a pathway to a more pervasive sense of calmness and clarity.
In the same way that the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama found spiritual enlightenment after leaving a life of luxury and seeking to abandon all attachment to worldly possessions, the modern minimalist finds freedom through simplicity.
Luckily, the minimalist way doesn’t call for you to relinquish everything that isn’t necessary to survive. Instead, it asks you to rid your life of what isn’t helping you to thrive.
It can be hard to draw that line at first, but take a deep breath and dip your feet in… The clarity and warm liberation that wash over you as you enter minimalistic waters make it easy to determine what is holding you back from swimming at your best.
- Enhance Your Mood & Focus
‘As above, so below’ isn’t just a spiritual philosophy— It’s actually psychology. Studies show that your mental state reflects your environment in a substantial way:
- Stress Less
Surround yourself with clutter, and both your unconscious and conscious attention will constantly be flitting from object to object. Not only that, but it is a whole lot harder to keep track of your responsibilities when they are hidden in a sea of stuff.
- Think More Positively
An annoying evolutionary advantage of the human mind is that it is always analyzing things surrounding it and replaying emotions associated with them. Minimalism takes away the static and places only helpful possessions within its view, evoking positive emotions.
- Pay Attention to What’s Important
Minimalists have an easier time prioritizing than laypeople. When there is nothing to distract you except truly meaningful mementos and hobbies, procrastination is virtually non-existent and you have the capacity to notice and address changes to the things you care about most.
- Foster a More Fulfilling Lifestyle
The ‘pursuit of happiness’ has somehow taken on a materialistic form in contemporary society. When we take a closer look at celebrities, we can clearly see that fulfillment does not come through wielding tremendous tangible wealth:
- Work Less
The minimalist life leads to less money spent. If your grandma was correct in saying ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’, you’re sure to become rich quickly. Since you’ll already have almost everything you need, why not cut your hours at work?
- Save Time & Money
When you have less clutter, you’ll spend less time cleaning, less time looking for lost items, and less time worrying about trivial matters. How does more money in the bank, time with those you love, and energy to follow your dreams sound instead?
- Experience Closer Relationships
A prominent complaint in romantic relationships is a lack of emotional or physical intimacy. This disconnect often stems from distractions of a material nature…from tech addictions to lust for symbols of status and power. Minimalism topples those barriers, bringing friends, family, and lovers alike closer together.
- Contribute to a Culture of Compassion
If the consumerist tunnels that so many citizens get stuck in within our culture were eliminated…what would be left? Collaborative conversation? Captivating fun despite differences? Solutions that meet in the middle?
- Consume Less
All benefits of capitalism aside, should it really consume our line of sight? A minimalistic approach transforms products and services into a lifestyle support system instead of an all-consuming centerpiece. While this side-effect could be bad for corporations, it benefits those who offer something truly nourishing to their community.
- Become More Aware
Awareness is the first step towards…literally anything. Minimalism frees up a lot of attention and energy, making it easy to take inventory of the subtle yet lovely things in your local culture, as well as what could use some improvement. Solutions for lasting change only come about when someone sees the bigger picture with clarity.
- Foster Collaboration, Not Competition
While some amount of competition and comparison is healthy, the kind that comes about through material conquest typically leads to neglect and divisive conflict. If there was nothing to compare but knowledge, crafts, and other valuable cultural contributions, a lot more headway would be made towards widespread health, wealth, and happiness.
If you start your minimalistic journey today, you might even find your life’s purpose tomorrow. That, or maybe you’ll just live in a self-created oasis and hit the slopes with your neighbors on a daily basis. Clearing away the physical objects that obstruct your personal path to happiness is easier than you think, and it will promote constructive growth from the roots up.
Waste less of your time, attention, money, and energy through minimalism, and it will be easy to sort the rest of your trash into the right bins…both figuratively and literally. Your mind, body, bank account, loved ones, and community will thank you (and so will the environment)!