AMAZING BENEFITS AND PERKS OF BECOMING MINIMALIST AND TAKING BACK CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE BY ADOPTING THIS MINDFUL LIFESTYLE
■ text by Bartosz Och | photos from Pexels
Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something. Becoming minimalist should be and is fun, invigorating, and uplifting. Don’t be too overwhelmed by the idea of having to go through all of your possessions and getting rid of anything just yet. You can do that when you feel that you are ready. Perhaps my previous post will ease you into becoming minimalist. First, I want to show you the positive outcomes of becoming minimalist. So let’s just dive right into those benefits.
~ INCREASES HAPPINESS ~
In a short study conducted by an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, one of the top five regrets of the dying people was that they wish they had let themselves be happier. This is a common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. I think one of the main things that draw people into this lifestyle is this idea or notion that happiness is increased or the quality of life is improved. Advertisements keep telling us that stuff will make us happy, that it’s only by having that we will feel fulfilled. Having that perfect man or a woman, the body of your dreams, the most luxurious car or house. But happiness is a state of being and not having. It’s the experiences that we remember and that is something minimalism constantly reminds me. On that note, I really recommend you read this inspirational book by Dalai Lama! It’s incredible, and it definitely changed my view on so many things.
~ SAVES MONEY ~
There goes a saying: “Have stories to tell, not stuff to show”. I think this is a wonderful quote that I adopted as my personal motto. Minimalism means just buying those things that you need and on occasion things that you want, but not in excess. In doing so you save money. Personally, I choose to spend some of that saved money on travelling which brings me back to point number one. It’s the fond connections and memories I made while travelling that have brought me some of the most joyous moments in my life—not material things. And how about earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less? This book is the blueprint.
~ HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT ~
Did you know that in the past three decades, one-third of the planet’s natural resources has been consumed? This is a very worrying statistic that we can’t keep on having our input in! Less consumption means less waste. By recycling and donating those things that you no longer need means someone else can benefit from it which means they are going to be buying less of the new stuff and, as a result, less waste yet again. So with minimalism, I truly believe, comes less of an environmental impact. And I am not telling you to become a tree hugger but to be a bit more environment-cautious. If something breaks, don’t bin it right away—try to fix it! You can also make a few buck off of selling your outdated, no longer needed, even broken stuff on eBay. I made a tonne of money by listing my things online. P.S. This excellent book by Annie Leonard provides hope that change is within reach.
~ REMOVES EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE ~
It’s often what we hold on to that holds us back from improving our lives. One of the things I learned, it wasn’t just the clutter in my life. These were the things that were getting in the way of me living the life I truly wanted to live. Remember, organised clutter is still a clutter. So don’t carry around what you no longer need whether it’s in your pocket, in your home, or in your heart. Remember the past, but don’t live in it! Move on, enjoy the present moment, and look up to the future. Yet again, here is another fantastic book that I highly recommend reading.
~ RELIEVES THE STRESS AND CLEARS THE MIND ~
This is not just anecdotal. Studies are showing us that there is a direct correlation between the number of possessions that somebody has and the amount of stress that they experience. So, in other words, having more stuff means you are maybe more prone to being anxious. I feel that my mind has been more at ease since adopting this lifestyle. I think it’s because less of my mental energy is focused on doing those things I feel I need to do like cook, shop, clean, etc. Instead, I can focus on doing those things I truly want to do.
~ FREES UP TIME ~
More of my time is spent doing the things I truly love like working on my hobbies or spending time with my friends and family. Becoming minimalist allowed me to stay focused on what’s really important and beneficial to my well-being. If I were to compare this to my previous self, I was spending most of my time going to stores or online shops to buy the latest, greatest, next best thing. For a very long time, I had a strong but shaky relationship with procrastination. I would often trick myself into thinking I am being proactive by doing meaningless, boring, tedious chores instead of attending to things I would rather spend my valuable time and energy on.
~ PROMOTES CLEANLINESS ~
Have you ever considered that maybe you don’t need to be more organised like you always thought? Maybe all you really needed was less stuff. Less stuff means easier to clean, less to organise, less to store, and, generally, less mess. Becoming minimalist doesn’t mean you must start living in an echo resounding box. While some may immediately think of the primary blue and yellow buildings of Ikea, there is so much more to minimalistic design than this iconic chain store. Scandinavian design extends to the countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland—offering a vast and eclectic taste that personifies minimalistic movement and is characterised by both simplicity and functionality. You can dive in right into the topic with this best-seller I read over last Christmas.
~ INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY ~
Possesions consume more of our time than we realise. Since adopting this practice, my productivity has multiplied considerably. I no longer find myself juggling between procrastination and proactiveness. I know what needs to be done and I do it—there are no lame excuses or trivial stuff to divert my attention away. It was mostly thanks to minimalism that I have finally found the time and motivation to focus on my work and hobbies. In this amazing book, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process—and showing us all just how easy it can be.
~ INCREASES GRATITUDE ~
Minimalism for me means attracting more of the important things and less of the material things. In this way, I am more grateful for what I do have. And if I am given something by somebody, I find that now I value it a lot more. It makes me realise how little I need to be happy and there really is a beauty in that. The less you expect, the happier you will be. I no longer anticipate gifts from anyone because I learnt that real beauty is in giving and sharing. Stuff has become a token of appreciation, but we can express what we really feel with words and honest human gestures.
~ SETS YOUR FREE ~
I had saved the best one for last. And that is freedom from the comparison game. It feels like once we start consuming, there is no end to the amount of things that we could want, and now I truly feel free from that burden. Again, it comes down to promises and expectations. The best relationship and memories are made, not paid for. Sure you can pay to go on a holiday, but it’s different to looking out for a new iPhone, constantly. I now have three pairs of pants and about four t-shirts. And you know what? No one couldn’t care less that I keep on wearing same clothes two, sometimes three days in a row! No one notices, no one gives a damn! I for sure spend a lot less money and time not having to upgrade and update my closet out of sheer boredom. And that’s also prevalent in other aspects and areas of my life. I have a phone that works just fine, a backpack that does an amazing job, a good tent, a pair of comfy shoes. What else do I need? Nothing! Besides, maybe, this superb book that summarises perfectly this mindful way of living that minimalism is!