Often people associate minimalism with decluttering and letting go of the material things they no longer need, use, or find any happiness in. However, minimalism is only the tool we can utilise to enjoy the benefits of decluttering our surroundings and life in general.
My minimalism journey started in 2015 when I moved abroad to university. Since then I have been actively simplifying my life. Along the way I have noticed several life-changing benefits of leading a more minimalist lifestyle some of which I am sharing below.
Clarity of mind
The most notable benefit of minimalism I experienced immediately, was how much the things around me seemed to clutter up my mind. By clearing up the space around me, whether it was small areas such as my desk or my entire room, I felt a sense of relief. I could focus better on the tasks at hand allowing me to be more productive and procrastinate less.
Studies have actually shown that cluttered spaces have a negative impact on our ability to focus, stress and anxiety levels, as well as the quality of our sleep. As a remote worker, part of my daily routine is to clear up my desk before I dive into my tasks. By removing any distractions, I am forced to focus on the work that is waiting for me on my laptop screen.
Tying in with the previous point above, minimalism has helped me to be more present in the moment. With limited distractions around me and by intentionally putting my phone away in social situations has allowed me to really tune in on the conversations I’m having with friends, family, or strangers.
Now that I am aware of how easily we disappear into our phones, it almost feels eerie. I wish more individuals made the conscious decision to just put their phones away for a bit and to be in the moment – in the real world.
For a long time my instagram profile proudly held the phrase ‘aspiring author’. I dreamt of one day being a published author whilst sitting on a half-finished rough draft of my novel and not putting consistent work into it. I soon realised that I was constantly distracting myself with everything else around me, because I was too critical to continue writing.
Through minimalism I have been able to refocus my priorities, and save chunks of time every week to put in the work to finally finish this personal project of mine.
The most unexpected benefit of minimalism for me has been the sheer increase in my self-confidence both externally and internally. Firstly, I realised that to look put together and somewhat stylish (now this is debatable) I didn’t need to constantly haul piles of new clothes. Living on a very tight budget as student I had to be considerate about what I bought and learned how to build a capsule wardrobe that was functional, inspiring, and timeless.
More importantly, minimalism helped me discover my own values and in what I find fulfilment. In our consumerist society we are fed the idea that having flashy cars, a large house, designer clothes, and more material possessions than we can name, are the true signs of success and happiness. However, minimalism has taught me true happiness is not found in copious amounts of external possessions, but from finding inner peace and by living intentionally.
The overarching benefit of minimalism to me has just been the sheer amount of freedom I have started to experience in my daily life. Freedom from too much clutter, whether physical or mental, freedom to choose how and where I expend my energy and thoughts. Yet perhaps most importantly, freedom to accept and live my authentic self.
As you see minimalism is merely a tool, or the initial step, for embarking on this life-changing journey. Ever since realising all the amazing benefits of minimalism, I haven’t looked back.
What is your take on minimalism? Have you ever tried to declutter your life?