When Less Is More: What is Minimalism & How Being a Minimalist Can Help You Live Happier
Ahh…stuff! The shinier and trendier, the better.
We all love buying new and cool stuff. From the latest gadgets to the trendiest clothes. Buying stuff makes us feel better about ourselves. No wonder shopping therapy is a thing.
We all want more stuff. More gadgets, more upgrades, clothes, more food, more sex, more travel, more internet, more social media, more selfies, more addictions, more alcohol, more drugs, more entertainment, more parties, more news, and more negativity.
This ‘more’ mindset is making us hungrier and hungrier for…well…MORE. So we want to earn more, spend more and buy more. This makes us feel happier, more fulfilled and more successful.
But if buying and owning ‘more’ stuff actually made us feel better, wouldn’t all of us be happy in life?
Now I am not saying you’re unhappy. But don’t you feel you could be happier? Don’t you feel you could experience a little more inner peace? I know I do.
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates
If the latest gadgets and a closet full of new clothes led us to happiness, the world would have been a completely different place. Buying and possessing stuff makes us feel heavy, psychologically and realistically.
The more stuff you have, the more crammed your place is. The more you need to worry about them. And the more you need to get.
Minimalism is a concept that sets you free from all these shackles. Minimalism helps you live a life full of freedom, finding true peace and happiness and enjoy life.
What do you think will make you feel better in the long run? A closet full of clothes or a shelf full of books? Regardless of what your answer is, it’s time for you to get introduced to minimalism.
What Minimalism Actually Is
“It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” – Bertrand Russell
Minimalism is the process of knowing what holds value in your life and eliminating what is unimportant. The mantra is less is more. Minimalism means you buy and own things that you need instead of owning whatever you want.
It is not about buying the cheapest items. It is about getting things that you value and need, irrespective of the price. The level of minimalism you want to adopt in you life depends on you. You can simply start by getting rid of things in your home that you don’t need anymore. It’s like having a glorified garage sale. With time, you can figure out what other things you wish to cut down and how much of a minimalist you want to be.
When you live with less, you have less stress, less anxiety, less financial burdens, less unnecessary expenses, and less depression.
Minimalism helps us make more time for things that matter – our family and friends, health, passions and hobbies, and the simple things in life like taking a walk in nature. Minimalism helps you to detox from the physical, mental and digital clutter that makes us feel overwhelmed.
The core essence of minimalism is living your life intentionally. It’s like being mindful of how you live.
You take enough time and space and decide what you deliberately want to get rid of from the life that distracts you from what truly matters. Hence, you will end up investing your time and space only on the most important things that align with your beliefs and values.
What Minimalism Actually Isn’t
“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale
Sometimes it can be more helpful to understand what minimalism is not than trying to figure out what minimalism is. The lifestyle concept is surrounded by a lot of myths and misconceptions that give it a bad rep. These false notions make minimalism seem like an impossible thing to do for people like us and make it more complicated and confusing.
Here’s what minimalism is not:
1. It is not about getting rid of every material possession you own
Minimalism is not about living in poverty or hardship. It is not about giving up a comfortable life. It is about deliberately choosing to live with less stuff and make more time for life.
2. It is not restrictive and it doesn’t make life hard for you
Minimalism is about eliminating things that you don’t use or need or that doesn’t add to your life. It is not about getting rid of things which you do use and which makes it easy for you to live your life.
3. It is not about being frugal
Being frugal is about saving money at every opportunity and being careful about what you spend on. Minimalism can help you save money by spending less, but that is not the primary objective here. The goal is to focus more on what matters to you.
4. There are no set of rules and standards
It is not necessary for you to follow any specific rules or standards to become a minimalist. You can choose and follow your own rules and modify them accordingly as your life changes.
5. It is not only for single, young people
You can choose to be a minimalist even if you have a family and children. Being a minimalist has nothing to do with your geography, profession or your marital status. You can practice minimalism whether you are single or part of a large family.
6. It is not only about ‘stuff’
Minimalism is not just about our material possessions. The lifestyle philosophy can be applied to almost all aspects of our lives. It is about understanding your values, what is important, and removing anything that distracts you.
Why Adopt A Minimalist Lifestyle?
“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” – Vernon Howard
Are you thinking about becoming a minimalist and making changes to your lifestyle? Well, it can actually help you live a better, happier and more meaningful life.
Here Are The Top 10 Benefits Of Living Life As A Minimalist.
1. Experience mental clarity & peace
Most of us get attached to our material possessions. Don’t believe me? How close are you to your iPhone? Got the answer? Right. As I was saying, giving too much value to our material possessions can lead to stress and anxiety because we are afraid we might lose them. Minimalism allows you to detach from these ‘things’ and simplify your life. This will help you find peace of mind and clarity. The less things we own, the less stressed we will be. Minimalism boosts our mental health.
2. Live a healthier, better life
Did you know clearing out your house of unnecessary things can make you feel emotionally healthier? Research has found that clearing out clutter can help your mind feel calmer and more relaxed. When you get rid of something that you don’t use, love or need, it creates more physical and mental space in your life.
Moreover, as you spend less time shopping and buying unnecessary things, you can manage more time to invest in yourself and your health. You can finally find time to do all the things you love. Want to lose some weight? Hit the gym. Want to start painting? Go for it. Want to write a book? Type away. Being a minimalist allows you to manage time to pursue your passions and focus on your hobbies. You can start working out, meditate, practice yoga, read a book, write a story, or even go traveling. You can finally heal your soul.
3. Enjoy a life of freedom
How many things do you own? How many new things do you wish to buy and own? You work hard and long to give your family a comfortable life and in the process you end up owning stuff that you don’t even need. This buying and owning of things over and over again ties you down and makes you feel heavy.
The more things you possess, the more afraid you are of losing them. Minimalism empowers you to let go and set yourself free. You experience a new sense of freedom from overworking, obsession, attachment, greed and debt. Once you free yourself, you can choose to do the job you love, work for yourself, build a dream career, enjoy a day off and have a life.
When you declutter your attic, closet and drawers, you will have more physical space in your home. You will find more space in your house to move around freely. Moreover, by detaching yourself from physical things that you were clinging on to, you will be able to breathe easily. You can finally let go of all the physical, mental, emotional and financial burden that felt heavy on your chest. Now you can simply sit back and breathe in life and breathe out stress. Talk about living in the moment. This is how you experience mindfulness.
5. Forget about stress and anxiety
How do you think it feels to have a decluttered house? A house that has a lot of room to move freely? A house where you don’t need to fix something every other day? A house where you don’t have to clean every piece of useless furniture, décor, and junk every weekend? How does it feel to live in a house like that? Let me tell you, it feels great.
You don’t need to worry about maintaining your house as much as you used to. You don’t have to look after every single thing and worry about what’s going to break next. You can simply be yourself and relax when you get home. You can finally be. No stress. No worries. No anxiety. Complete hassle-free living. That’s minimalism for you.
6. More time to do things you love
With less focus on material possessions, you will spend less time taking care of them. As you’re less distracted by the media bombardings screaming at us to buy more stuff, you will find more time to do things that you enjoy and love.
Not only will you be more open to new opportunities and possibilities in life, you will also be able to spend more time with your own self and your family. With all the extra time in your hands, you will seek and explore new ways to utilize that time, like learning a new skill, and add real value to your life.
7. More money in your hand
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you waste less money on unnecessary things, one of the best things that happens is that you save money and a lot of it. By living a minimalist life, you will invest less in shopping & owning stuff, and have extra cash on your hands. Fewer parties, fewer night outs and fewer impulse purchases mean more money in your bank. It means you can finally save and have the money you need to buy something more important, something that you actually need.
8. Build stronger relationships
Being a minimalist, you stop feeling jealous of others, stop being envious your friends and stop competing with your coworkers about who has the best car or the fanciest house. With the little green monster called jealousy finally gone, you can start building better relationships with people around you. As you stop trying to please and impress people, you can be your true self and connect with others on a deeper level. This is how you build great relationships.
9. Live a happier life
Decluttering your closet leads to a decluttered mind and decluttered life. And when you feel free from the shackles of debt, guilt, stress, depression and competition, you will naturally attract more happiness into your life. By embracing the true essence of life, you can feel pure bliss and joy and find happiness in simplicity all around you.
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” – Charles Dudley Warner
10. Find a greater purpose
When you shift your focus from unnecessary things and activities to what matters to you, you will find a renewed sense of purpose. As you will have a clear direction in life, you will be inspired to achieve your goals and dreams without getting distracted or confused. With fewer commitments in life, you can seriously focus on your passions.
Living With Intentionality
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.” – Richard Holloway
Can being a minimalist make you happier? In short, yes. The philosophy of minimalism has become a trend recently, but has been practiced by thousands of people for centuries. Minimalism means living intentionally with only those “stuff” that you need to survive. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. Minimalism doesn’t mean you have to own less than 50 things or you can’t own a home or a car or have a career. It doesn’t mean you have to give up all modern conveniences and go live in a cabin in the woods. Neither does it mean you can’t have a normal life.
Minimalism means living with fewer material possessions.
Whatever that means for you. If that means you don’t want to buy a house or own a car, then that’s your decision to make. But it’s not a rule. There are no obligations or restrictions.
Minimalism Sets You Free
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
Minimalism is an effective tool that allows us to experience freedom from depression, anxiety, fear and guilt. Freedom from the consumer culture that we have been forced into. Freedom from the belief that you need to own certain ‘things’ to be considered successful in life. I am not saying owning material possessions is wrong or anything. What I am trying to say is:
we need to assign less value to stuff and more value to ourselves, our lives, our relationships, our dreams and passions, our self-development and our desire to help our community and the world.
If you wish to buy a new house, have a successful career and raise a family, then you should. Minimalism simply empowers you to live this life in a deliberate, conscious and intentional manner.
Live Your Own Minimalist Life
“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” – Jackie French Koller
Minimalism will mean different things for different people. Each of us will practice this lifestyle philosophy in our way as it depends on how much we are personally willing to let go. So you can create your own minimalist lifestyle that suits your own needs and purposes. It will depend on what is important to you and what you can comfortably remove from your life.
Minimalism is the tool for living a simpler, happier life. It will offer you a type of freedom that you have never experienced before and help you to focus your time and energy on things that you value.