Minimalism might feel like just another fad, but it’s one that’s got some unexpected benefits. Unlike other trends that just seem like attempts to get you to buy more, more more, minimalism can actually benefit your mental health. Its emphasis on less can give you (and your wallet) a bit of a break. Here are five reasons you might want to give this trend a try.
Less Clutter Helps Declutter Your Brain
Less clutter around you isn’t just attractive. It’s good for your brain, too. It helps you concentrate because clutter is distracting. It essentially makes your brain multitask the entire time you’re trying to work, so a cleaner area will help you focus on whatever it is you’re doing. This helps you to be able to accomplish more, while also letting go of the things you don’t need to think about at the moment. Cluttered space, cluttered mind but clear space, clear mind!
Wanting Less Versus Needing Less
By embarking on a journey of minimalism, you still have to get all the things you need. It’s not a path to poverty or to going without. It is, however, a path to help you learn the difference between the things you want and the things you really need. Once you get used to it, that can take a load off. You’ll feel less pressured to compete with everyone, buying stuff you don’t really need. In turn, you’ll feel less anxious about your place in life and if you’re “keeping up with the Jones’.”
Give Yourself Freedom
If you were to drag out all of your personal belongings, you’d probably be shocked at just how many items you own. All of those things tie you to something, even if it’s just a vision you had for yourself. Getting rid of the excess (not everything, only the excess) will be a weight off your home, your finances and your mind. You’ll be starting from scratch—or at least from what you are at this moment, without all the expectations you’ve created for yourself.
That leads to a sudden burst of freedom and creativity. You’ve given yourself a new chance by taking some real, physical steps to get rid of stuff. The freedom means you can suddenly get creative with all the ideas you thought you had for yourself. You’re left with nothing but you, without all the outside and leftover pressures to try and adhere to.
Clutter forces your brain to work on overdrive almost all the time. Constantly competing with others places your sense of self in the things you can afford instead of in who you are. Having old things continually hanging around you makes you think about all the goals you had that you let slip, even if they were never really a solid goal.
Getting rid of all those pressures, letting your brain relax and eliminating imaginary competition all adds up to one big thing: You’ll have less stress. You’ll still have some stress, of course, but your baseline stress levels will drop, and you’ll be able to handle the acute stressors more efficiently.
More Money for Experiences
One of the key aspects of creating lasting happiness is to spend your money on experiences instead of things. Buying products may give you instant gratification, but that doesn’t last. Instead, that thing you got tends to become part of the background pretty quickly. In a year, you’ll get next to nothing out of that thing.
Buying an experience, on the other hand, is entirely different. Every time you remember what you did, or you look at pictures from your trip, you’ll feel the same happiness about the journey for years. The next time you want to buy presents for a holiday, skip the gifts. Take a trip instead, even if it’s a short one that’s close to home. You and your family will love the change up and will become closer as a result.
Minimalism isn’t just something you should do because it looks cool. It’s a great goal to have to help your mental health and wellbeing. It can help you learn about the things you need instead of the things you want, and it can help you nourish your relationships with others. All humans need good social support, and working to keep yourself mentally fit is one of the first steps in getting that.
Want more #lifehacks? Try this adrenal-supporting tonic or these three herbs to help you destress from urban living.