The modern age has created a culture of convenience and consumerism. This “Push-Button Society” that we live in has paved the way for a faster, more demanding lifestyle than what previous eras have offered. We fall into a trap of believing that all the advances in technology help with everything and don’t take away anything from our lives.
But the truth is, we often feel rushed, overwhelmed, bogged down and just plain stressed or exhausted. Make no mistake, technology is great and advancements do us good. But the culture that we’ve created also weigh us down. The demands for quicker, more immediate results add to our stress levels. And the subtle yet hypnotic messages of consumerism turn us into hoarders or at least set us on the path to becoming one. The increased amounts of communication and media outlets fill our lives with noise. It’s no wonder we’re so stressed and distracted.
The volume of things we own or need to take care of; the endless lists of things we need to do or feel we need to do; coupled with the work of maintaining such a fast-paced modern lifestyle will indefinitely tire us.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that is meant to counteract such a fast-paced and cluttered way of living. It seeks to eliminate unnecessary distractions and allows one to slow down and focus on the things that matter. In doing so, it helps one appreciate the things in their life that truly hold value while allowing them to remain connected to themselves and the important people in their lives.
It can also be considered a frugal way of living that one may choose either out of necessity or because they are simply tired of the way they run their lives. For others, it might be a more urgent choice. For example, in order to make ends meet, one may need to downsize their spending, home or activities. Adapting a simpler lifestyle can help in managing one’s finances, living space or schedule.
For others, minimalism is a way to live a less wasteful lifestyle. They take it as a way to ditch habits of excessive consumerism and instead, form habits that impact both themselves and the environment positively by living sustainably. Not having to worry about such things can alleviate stress and knowing you are doing your part for the environment is just cherry on top.
Living minimally also gives you freedom. When you’ve truly embraced the lifestyle, it can release you from the need to keep buying, or filling your days with activities. You will find yourself with more time, more money and more space. If done properly, embracing the philosophy can help release you from the desire to acquire more things and keep up with the constantly evolving technology more than what is necessary. You will have less bills, less to take care off as well as more time to focus on what really feeds your mind and enriches your soul.
Having this kind of freedom can allow one to have a focused mindset that you can apply when you clean up your home, shop or schedule your day or week. Minimalism allows you to incorporate a system and to use that system whenever you need it.
However, beginning to live the minimalistic lifestyle itself can be daunting. Ironically, it can be a source of stress too. Some rush into it and attempt to get rid of everything they have all at once. Halfway through, they lose the energy to continue or forget their reason for de-cluttering and end up worse off than when they began.
Minimalism is meant to give you freedom and not weigh you down. It’s meant to free you from the things that take up so much of your life that they directly or indirectly cause stress. Hence, incorporating the minimalistic lifestyle should not be made into a stressful endeavor to avoid quitting. It is a choice to live minimally and mindfully, directly resulting in freedom. However, it must be done right.
How does one begin to live minimally in a way that doesn’t stress them out? Well there is no one solution. Minimalism is flexible to different personalities. It is meant to adapt to you, your lifestyle and your needs rather than you trying to squeeze yourself into it. But the basic rule is to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and giving up.
If you are the type of person that needs to get a task done right away to keep from losing momentum, then tackle large chunks of de-cluttering at a time. Set aside a long weekend to clean out your closet or work on your schedule. If you are applying minimalism to something less tangible than “stuff” in your home or in a room, make sure you ask someone to check that you are getting things done. Do whatever it takes to make sure you get it done.
For others though it might do to take small steps into the minimalistic lifestyle. Just remember to remain focused and still stick to a system in doing so. If, for example, you are applying minimalism in your home, you might begin with one room before moving onto the next. Do it systematically, if you started in the kitchen what makes sense to tackle next?
There is also the factor of urgency. Minimalism shouldn’t be rushed. The whole point of minimalism is to slow things down. But for others, switching to a minimalistic lifestyle may be a more desperate and urgent need. The principle of avoiding becoming overwhelmed still applies. But you can take into consideration what you need to tackle first when it comes to this urgency. Is it finances? Or do you drastically need space in your home? Apply minimalism where it is needed but make sure to do it slowly and surely as well as practically.