Minimalism for a happier, easier life
by Alicia Fields
What is minimalist? It one who’s part of a growing movement defined as: “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.” – The Minimalists
Minimalism offers freedom because it’s been scientifically proven that the more choices we have, the less free we feel and the more anxiety we experience. You’d think it would be the opposite, but it’s not. Think about making a decision about what kind of jam to buy, only there are a hundred different brands with a hundred different flavors. Now, what if there were only three brands and three basic flavors? Which decision is easier? OK, so are you on board? If not, maybe this will change your mind.
- Your life will get easier.
If you reduce the clutter in your home, in your head, in your life, then life gets easier, decisions are easier, and happiness flows more freely. But where do you start? I’m always in favor of a guide to steer you in the right direction, and happiness and ease are exactly what Greg McKeown has found and shares in his book, Essentialism. I highly recommend it. Consider it a beginner’s “how to.”
- You know exactly what makes you happy and how to get it.
When you reduce most nonessential things in your life and focus on what you really want without all the mental chatter, happiness makes a front-and-center appearance. When you focus on the essentials and minimize the rest, huge wonderful changes take place. Take a breath and think about all the things you have to deal with in your life right now. Now what if you minimized those to only the completely essential pieces? I’m talking everything: your work, your closet, your material items, your mode of transportation, your way of spending, your friendships.
You may be groaning and thinking, That might be nice, but I’m too busy! This is exactly why you need it. I have noticed that when people clear their material clutter, then the mental clutter starts to fade, too. Because I needed help in this department, I found this amazing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. The book really is magical and practical.
- You can start small.
This process can take years, learning what you need and don’t need, what makes you happy and what is a waste of time. Don’t let that deter you, Just try it, and if it doesn’t work you can go back to your old ways. A good place to start is in your wardrobe. How about reducing to a 10-item wardrobe? (I know it sounds scary, but it’s not. I’m onto season three of my own abbreviated closet, and I LOVE it). Here is a favorite author of mine discussing the concept in a TED Talk. Another great place to start is by following people, blogs, and podcasts about minimalism or essentialism to give you ideas about where to start and even more benefits you’ll receive.
Food can be another place to start: get only the essentials only items you know are filling, delicious, and can be stored in the fridge or freezer for the upcoming week. Make an essential meal plan and stick to it, maybe switching out one new meal every week or every other week but sticking to the essentials.
Decluttering is another great way to start. The Flylady offers baby steps to cleaning and decluttering your house, while making it easy and fun. Or better yet, search the Internet for minimalism or essentialism and find your own favorite way to start. Here is a TED Talk by The Minimalists that may give you good inspiration.
So I hope this has piqued your interest, and I invite you to research a bit on your own. This time of the year is a wonderful time to start, especially during the current Mercury Retrograde. See my article from last year on how to get through it while remaining sane. This is a great time to turn inward, figure out what’s most important in your life, and try on a bit of minimalism. Where will you start?
Alicia H. Fields is the author of the upcoming book, Wild Wellness, which will give you more insights like this about getting your body and life functioning to their highest levels, using the natural cycles of the earth. Alicia is a nature loving wild woman and creator of Wild Wellness, a business site for women that teaches how living intuitively and connected to nature will lead to an amazing and fulfilled life. Alicia is a master level yoga therapy teacher and wellness coach, Desire Map facilitator, essential oils instructor, tarot reader, animal rescuer, and backyard farmer with her partner, Mr. Amazing. You can find her at WildWellness.me or on Facebook.