Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.
What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.
By adopting a minimalist lifestyle you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.
I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.
Less is more
Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits. What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.
Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions.
1. Create room for what’s important
When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.
2. More freedom
The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.
3. Focus on health and hobbies
When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.
Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing? You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.
4. Less focus on material possessions
All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.
We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.
It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.
5. More peace of mind
When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.
The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.
6. More happiness
When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.
You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.
7. Less fear of failure
When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.
In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.
8. More confidence
The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.