Inside: 7 benefits of minimalism and why you might want to consider becoming a minimalist
Imagine walking into a sensory deprivation chamber – bare walls, a thin mattress in one corner, and a small chair that doubles as a nightstand. That’s most people’s idea of minimalism.
But minimalism is nothing like that. It’s not all about throwing away your stuff and having only one towel or three pairs of underwear.
The point of minimalism is to figure out what’s truly important to you and then designing your life to reflect your values.
This is known as living intentionally. Read these tips for getting your life off autopilot and living like you mean it.
There are many exciting benefits minimalism can bring into your life. Here are seven of them – the ones I believe are excellent reasons to consider trying a minimalist lifestyle.
When you live your life according to your own values, there is no need to impress others, no need to keep up with the Joneses. What a relief!
We all know people who always feel the need to look successful, have the latest car or phone or whatever gadget… but are they happy?
Not likely. That kind of display of success often requires working 80-hours a week, chasing the next promotion, and wasting energy on things that ultimately don’t matter.
Do you know how I know? Walk around an old cemetery and read the inscriptions on the tombstones.
How many mention the latest car? Or the biggest house? Nah, what matters is love and care – those are in the inscriptions that tell you about the deceased.
Minimalism frees you from the hamster wheel of materialism and lets you focus on loving, caring, and creating.
The minimalist journey often involves decluttering of the physical space. It takes time and energy, and it frees up a good chunk of mental space.
As you figure out what’s important to you, you learn to distinguish between needs and mere wants.
And you start being very picky about what you bring into your home now that it’s nicely clutter-free.
All those impulse buys and free gift-with-purchase? Not needed. More money in your pocket.
You wouldn’t think minimalism and health would be connected, right? But they are. Simple living tends to result in better food and sleep, more exercise, and generally less stress.
Jumping off the hamster wheel of material success means you’ll have more time to pursue leisure activities and hobbies that are good for you. Think yoga, hiking, or paddleboarding, and knitting or reading.
These activities can help you lose extra weight, lower your blood pressure, give you a sense of accomplishment, and broaden your intellectual horizons. The end result is a healthier, happier you.
Better relationships with others
Focusing on what’s important to you and your loved ones practically requires you to discuss your values and how you can live your life true to them.
That means lots of quality time spent talking about dreams, goals, likes, and dislikes.
You share, and they share, and as the conversation gets deeper, you develop a greater understanding of one another. More empathy, more listening, more respect.
When you’re not worried about making a good impression, you can slow down and listen, and show who you really are. When you show up in an authentic way, people are drawn to you.
Not all the people, but your people. Your tribe. The people who love you and understand you.
These are relationships that make you feel rich beyond belief even though you’re not drowning in dollars.
Early on in your minimalist journey, you’ll realize it’s time to let go of perfection. Perfection looks like a lovely destination, but it’s really the journey that matters.
As you release the idea that you must be (or at least appear) perfect, you get comfortable with the concept that you’re a work in progress (aka WIP).
Makers are familiar with WIPs – we often have many. And they’re not finished till they’re finished.
Working with polymer clay, I may start with a rectangular veneer, cut it into a circular shape, drape it over a domed form, add something, take away something else, and change directions many times before calling it “done.”
When you think of yourself as a work in progress and get comfortable with being imperfect, you stop being so hard on yourself and on others too. You become confident that you’re on the right path, knowing that if it feels off, you can always change things.
When you have less to start with, you stop feeling the need to bring everything and the kitchen sink with you on your trips.
With a capsule wardrobe (link), all your garments work well together, and packing is a matter of having enough outfits to get you through the trip.
No need to bring five pairs of shoes because one pair goes with these pants and another pair only works with that skirt…
In terms of mindset, you already know that the important part of traveling is the experience, not what’s in your suitcase.
More appreciation for everything in life
Having less means less maintenance, and that means more time and energy left for other things. Like helping people.
Not only is it the best feeling in the world, but helping those less fortunate makes you appreciate the little things.
Like going to sleep in a comfortable bed in a quiet home, or waking up in the morning to a sunny day where breakfast is a few steps away in your clutter-free kitchen.
Minimalism isn’t about stripping life down to a bare minimum. It’s about understanding your own values and making sure you live your life according to them.
It can help you be freer, healthier, more confident, and more abundant in so many ways. Why would you hesitate?
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