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Minimizing to Maximize: Exploring the benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle

The end of a calendar year ushers in a sense of hope and the desire for new aspirations. As we anticipate the new year, it is typical to set goals and “New Year’s Resolutions.” This is the perfect time to incorporate lifestyle changes as well as healthier habits. 

Minimalism

A particularly interesting lifestyle that appears to have garnered momentum in recent years, is that of Minimalism. It is commonly described as a way to place more value and emphasis on experiences and loved ones rather than possessions. In doing so, one is able to cultivate a greater sense of self and achieve inner peace. Joshua Becker, a popular minimalist author and speaker said this, “The minimalist lifestyle is about living with only the things you need. Minimalists are free from the desire to buy and accumulate more. Instead, they find happiness in relationships and experiences.”

Why Minimalism?

Minimalism is hailed as a way to put a stop to the consumerism that seems to be sweeping our society. Take, for instance, the growing popularity of Black Friday sales. Look to social media and you will be bombarded by an infinite number of products and trends. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of material possessions, which has indirectly caused clutter, debt, and existential misdirection.

If you can identify with any of the previously mentioned notions or feelings just mentioned, perhaps consider researching the minimalist lifestyle.  

Benefits of Minimalism

Numerous lifestyle blogs, websites, and books resound the benefits of the minimalist lifestyle. Some of the most apparent benefits include:

  • Less stress
  • Less clutter
  • Less cleaning
  • More organization in the home
  • More money due to less spending

There are, however, more significant gains to adopting a minimalist lifestyle. 

  1. Clear mind. Purging your home and personal space creates mental peace. Have you ever noticed how you find yourself cleaning when you feel stressed? That is not coincidental. Clutter tends to have a negative effect on our mental health. 
  2. Freedom from material possessions. The accumulation of material possessions can serve as a hinderance. We tend to be preoccupied with the safety or state of our belongings. Letting go of the source could lead to a freedom that you have never known before. How great would that be!
  3. Focus on what matters. Spending less time acquiring goods creates an opportunity to do the things you love.
  4. Peace of mind. When we cling to material possessions, we generate stress because we are afraid of losing them. By simplifying your life, you can detach from possessions and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.
  5. More happiness. When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. 
  6. More confidence. The minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self-reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuits. 

How to get started

If you are even remotely interested in minimalism, consider the following tips as a “jump start” to the process:

  1. Evaluate your space and examine your priorities. The first step to minimalist living is examining your home, belongings, and lifestyle. Consider the following questions: Do you own multiple versions of the same items? Do you feel stressed about trying to store all of your items? Is your closet overflowing with clothes you never wear? Do you spend five minutes in the kitchen searching for the right lids to go with your plastic containers? 
  2. Declutter every area of your home. This can be difficult! But start small by identifying and removing duplicate items and items you do not use on a regular basis. Focus on eliminating not just the items you do not use, but also the ones that do not bring joy or meaning to your life.
  3. Store the sentimental items. Minimalist living has no room for items that are of no use. Consider storing these items in a storage area in your home or in a professional storage facility. 
  4. Think before you buy new things. Give significant thought to the items you buy or bring into your home moving forward. Ask yourself: Do I really need this item? Why am I really buying this? Ask yourself the hard questions before you buy!
  5. Opt for high-quality items. When you do buy, make sure it is a quality item and a good investment of your resources. 
  6. Cultivate gratefulness. Minimalist living incorporates the feeling of contentment. It begins with gratitude for what you have. Focus on the beauty, convenience, and ease your current possessions bring to your life. When you feel grateful for everything you own, the desire to own more gradually disappears.
  7. Purge on a regular basis. Regularly evaluate your possessions to see what (if anything) has become a burden or an unwelcome distraction in your life.

If you are ready to talk to a counselor, please call Amy Wine Counseling at 832.421.8714.

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Patricia Aburime

Patricia is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern at Amy Wine Counseling. She enjoys working with women facing the challenges of life changes through all stages of life, from late teen years well into adult-hood.
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