Minimalism for me doesn’t mean to take away everything completely. It means finding a balance through reducing and minimizing things in life that are too much, and that way creating a higher life quality. This post is about a few of the things that I found beneficial with living a minimalist lifestyle. The fact is that you can apply the saying of “less is more” to pretty much anything in life (at least in western civilization where most of us have much more than necessary for survival). This is not saying that I manage to follow this way of life perfectly, but I like using it as the main guidelines in everything I do.
This in itself has so many benefits and is probably the core of minimalism.
Here are a few basic things that occur by owning less. You will:
– Get less distracted in your everyday life. You’ll start appreciating the little things in life and get a better ability to focus on the actual beauty of your surroundings.
– Have more money left to use for something that actually provides happiness to yourself or to others.
– Experience a cleaner and more spacious environment both around you and inside yourself. Less distractions, less stress and worrying.
– Get a better conscience. By owning less, you’re not doing as much harm to the environment and to others. You’re not supporting consumerism as much and therefore not contributing as much to the destruction of the earth’s natural resources. This also goes hand in hand with being good at recycling. If there are things that I really don’t have use for anymore, I’ll make sure that it gets re-used somewhere else. For example, instead of throwing away clothes that I don’t like or that are too small, I donate it to charity or to second hand shops. A small act that makes so much difference. Better for the environment, and for all living things on the planet.
Cutting down on my schedule.
To do less but of more importance. Prioritizing things that makes me happy and healthy. Not planning my days based on the idea of “being as productive as possible” but to realize that I don’t need to rush life, and that to be able to actually enjoy my daily activities I have to spend at least a moment for myself just relaxing and breathing out.
Finding equal time for myself and for the people around me. To make my time worth while, and remember that in this stressful society, we fool ourselves that we NEED to do so many things all the time, when it’s actually so much better for us to take a step back.
It’s a fact that when you’re stressed, you do things quite halfhearted and often forget details on the way. You become clumsy and distracted and you can’t enjoy what you’re doing. If you instead cut down your schedule and fit in a moment each day clearing your mind, breathing and energizing your body, you will be able to get things done in half the time and maintain a much higher focus throughout the day. Therefore, by doing less you will get a higher quality of life.
Minimizing my wardrobe.
This is better for my wallet, for the environment and for my satisfactory level. I’ll have more money left for other things, and I’ll be able to spend more money on fewer pieces of higher quality clothing. These pieces will last longer and I will therefore have to consume even less.
Balancing my diet.
Means eating the right amount of food for your body type ) By eating less food but of higher quality, I gain health and have a steady flow of energy. I don’t get bloated, tired and won’t be in a constant “food coma”. If I indulge all the time just for the sake of it, I will end up not enjoying it. Eat when your body needs it and when you’re able to enjoy it fully.
Consuming less (or no) alcohol/other addictive substances – This can be tricky for some. Especially when you’re raised in a country with a heavy drinking/drug culture. For me, its mostly the realization that it very few times is worth it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I can’t have a glass of wine now and then at special occasions, but mainly to reduce the amount (and especially not use it as a way to “get happy when I’m sad”). That way, I learn how to enjoy life through myself without any shortcuts.
Wearing LESS makeup.
Not excessively covering up my face. Embracing my natural features and letting my skin breath, this way my skin gets better in itself and therefore I can wear even less makeup. Although, an exception is for those who sincerely are passionate about makeup and use it as an art form or a way to express themselves. It has to be for the right reasons, not in the belief that “the more make up you wear, the more beautiful you will be”, because this is definitely not true. Not one little bit. Just another thing that society put in our heads to make us consume more.
Using less beauty products.
Through the years I never really bothered with using a lot of hair/body products, but I’ve still felt a certain pressure from the beauty industry. You need this and that to make your body look, feel or smell a certain way. You need to remove this and that from it and then add this and that to it, to maintain extraordinary hygiene and perfection. You need to brush, scrub, wash, peel, rinse, shave, moisturize, apply, and so the list goes on.
All of this might be necessary and beneficial to some extent, but I’ve found that we generally spend way too much time, effort and money on these things. It’s extremely damaging to the environment, and many times to yourself as well. Many of these products have side effects. So when you start using a new product, another problem might occur and then you need another product for that. As an example; Your hair is oily and dirty, so you need to wash it with shampoo. Then your hair becomes really dry, so you need both hair mask and conditioner. Then you’re hair gets really soft and straight. So you need to spray it to get some volume. The spray makes your hair oily and dirty again. And so the vicious circle has begun.
The great thing is that it’s highly possible to stop this circle and to let the body do the work for you. We need to pause and realize that we’re destroying our bodies natural balance and we’re removing a lot of things that are actually supposed to protect us. Nowadays I try to let my body be the way it is as much as possible, and I’m constantly finding new, natural ways to stay clean. If you haven’t already heard about it, the No Poo movement has a facebook page where you can find lots of good tips on this subject.
A good way of thinking is that you shouldn’t use anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
Finally, being less attached to things.
Not only owning less, but understanding that I don’t OWN anything. Realizing that everything comes and goes, nothing is eternal, and that nothing in the world belongs to me. When building a special liking to a thing, when you constantly try to hold on to something and name that thing “MINE”, you are bound to be disappointed.
As an example, a while ago my favorite jacket was stolen. I had selected this jacket as MY favorite jacket. For some reason, this jacket had become special to me and I considered it being in my possession. Then, out of nowhere, it was taken from me. First I had an immense feeling of loss, anger, disappointment. But since I’ve had some practice in getting detached from things, I decided to accept the situation and move on.
It was a great piece of clothing and I’m thankful for all the good times I experienced wearing it. Now someone else will be able to enjoy it, and I will most definitely find more special jackets in this lifetime. SO, if you go through life enjoying things but not getting attached to them, not seeing them as belongings of yours, but belongings of the world, you are bound to get rid of a lot of misery.
There are so many more things that I could add to this list, both that has to do with the world around me and with my inner self. I am and will probably always be a strong believer in that a minimalist way of thinking, a minimalist way of life, will lead to a better and much easier life.