Stress affects us all. Whether parenting children, rushing to meet a deadline at work, managing finances, dealing with a health issue or coping with a challenging relationship, it’s everywhere. If stress comes from external factors of how we live our life, then perhaps we might need a new way of living.
Enter the world of minimalism…
It’s been around for centuries and more recently, has been a hot topic in the media and in various industries like design. Yet, many people still don’t have a full grasp on what it is.
What is Minimalism, Really?
Often, when people think of minimalism, they think about giving up modern conveniences. They imagine living in a cabin in the woods without electricity or running water.
While there are indeed people who live like this, not everyone who embraces minimalism goes to this extreme. There are other ways that minimalism can be utilized that don’t require such sacrifices.
Being a minimalist means that you value yourself more than material possessions. It means making decisions based on what you need and what lights you up instead of getting everything that you’ve been programmed to want. Ultimately, it’s about offering an opportunity for a greater appreciation of the things you truly love and value.
Minimalism involves a process that aims to help you recognize what’s significant in your life and eliminate whatever is not essential.
With less “stuff” in your house, car, and office, you’re able to decrease the amount of time you spend on cleaning and maintenance, and therefore increase the amount of time you have to do other activities you enjoy.
Minimalism as a Counter Culture
Generally speaking, it’s culturally acceptable to think that the more things we possess, the happier we will be.
If you have the latest electronics, drive the newest car, buy the nicest home and eat at the best restaurants, then you’re considered to be successful.
Of course, the emptiness of this philosophy becomes apparent quickly, but often the vicious cycle is hard to break. People work hard, even work second or third jobs, in order to afford the things they see their friends have and keep up with the lifestyle. Notice that the accumulation of lots of stuff does not truly replace a high-quality, meaningful life.
Minimalism seeks to reverse this trend, encouraging a greater appreciation of what life has to offer, allowing them to find happiness not through material possessions but through simple living.
The KonMari Method Explained
Let’s take a quick look at the KonMari Method by Marie Kondo. Kondo is the author of the best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
The KonMari Method that Kondo outlines allows you to choose what to keep based on what “sparks joy” for you.
The underlying principle of both minimalism and the KonMari Method is that stuff does not equal happiness. As a matter of fact, you may be trading a great deal of happiness to own all that stuff in the currency of time spent to organize and maintain it, as well as actual money spent doing the same.
Minimalism as a Spiritual Practice
Minimalism has a spiritual or mystical component. Eliminating, cleaning and decluttering physical spaces has been known to inspire people to shed thoughts, emotions, and ways of being that block their connections to their higher power.
As you begin to eliminate your excessive material possessions, you will most likely come face-to-face with your true self. You will no longer be able to hide behind the facade of your “things.” You will be revealed as you truly are. This will be a wonderful moment of self-realization.
Minimalism as a Tool
In short, minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom – freedom from fear, worry, overwhelm, guilt, depression, and stress, and guide you to live in the moment and have more physical space, time, and overall energy to enjoy the things that matter most to you.