Minimalist living is my theme today.
“If you have easy self-contentment, you might have a very, very cheap source of happiness.” – Leon Kass
Two things have happened in my life recently that have had a profound impact upon me.
Firstly, my family and I spent two weeks camping in France and though we had a van full of stuff, we lived in a very minimalist way, as everyone tends to do when they go camping. It was even a shame for me to come home and revert to living in a house in a number of ways. We went without so many of the things and the stuff that fills our home and our life usually as a family. I spoke with my wife about it and we met another family who had made a big decision to stop buying their children so much stuff and instead focus on experiences, the lady we met referred to it as “trips not toys” and it sounded like a great idea in so many ways.
Secondly, I have been on a major mission with regards to my eating and lifestyle. If you read a previous blog entry of mine about my Search and Destroy mission, you’ll know I am in the process of reducing my weight and getting my abs visible again, which I will be sharing photos of in a few weeks time. However, it has also shown me that you can eat well, in a stimulating, tasty, fulfilling fashion, without the need for so much that people often stock their cupboards with.
This is something I have nailed in my business, but until recently not applied as thoroughly to my personal life and I have been keen to change that recently and this article about minimalist living explains the reasons why. When I am mentoring or coaching, I meet individuals whose initial list of goals and ambition is overwhelming to read, let alone apply, so we often look at the essential aspects and elements of their business and work on the most important goal before anything else and we strategise accordingly – this is like having a minimalist approach to our goals, and minimalist living has a similar theme, let me explain.
Minimalistic living – or clean living – is all about getting rid of the things, thoughts, tasks – and people – you don’t need in your life. Hand on heart, if you were asked to give away half of what you own, it really wouldn’t be a problem, now would it? That’s the really easy part. Stop buying things you don’t need. Stop buying food that is not good for you.
When it comes to tasks, we need to be honest with ourselves – do we really need to do everything that is on our list? Or is it just maybe that we are hiding under the “urgent” to procrastinate the important? I encounter so many business clients who tend to get this wrong and need to simplify and get some clarity.
Removing people we don’t need in our life is a little tricky, but on occasion it is necessary. If somebody takes more of your energy than what you get in return, then politely excuse yourself from their presence. This might take a bit of practice, because as a human being you naturally don’t want anyone to feel bad. But….. Saying no to someone else does sometimes in fact mean saying yes to yourself and ensuring your needs are best met in order for you to be the best version of yourself.
To minimise thoughts is considered by some to be the most difficult part, they are the hardest to control for some people. Learn how to be mindful and aware of thoughts, and then how to manage those thoughts (if you ruminate too much, then read this article here: How To Stop Rumination and Overthinking Being Your Downfall). But once you’re there with letting go of unnecessary thoughts, it’s surprisingly easy to maintain and form as a habit.
On that note of getting rid of thoughts, I’ve written about having an emotional spring clean before, it is a good place to start, have a read here:
a) 9 Ways to Have an Emotional Spring Clean.
b) Using Self-Hypnosis To Have an Emotional Spring Clean.
Minimalist living places an emphasis on family, friends, relationship, experiences, and personal growth. Accumulating possessions beyond what is necessary is avoided. Becoming a minimalist can change your life in these positive ways:
1. You’ll have less debt.
So many people today are worried about debt. Enjoying a large salary doesn’t seem to make one immune necessarily either. As a minimalist, you’ll avoid the temptation to buy those things you don’t need. You get to step off the hedonic treadmill of ongoing consumerism; never fully satisfied with what you’ve got, always wanting the next phone, the next big TV, the next car, the bigger house and forgetting that once, the things you have now were a dream you had.
2. You’ll have more free time.
One interesting side effect of minimalism is an increase in free time. By keeping your commitments to the precious few, you’ll have more time to enjoy the things in your life that really matter to you. For me, being with my young family, going to the gym, running along the sea front, paddle-boarding locally, fun times with friends, these are all part of what enriches and nourishes me and my life on a number of levels and I get to do more of those things with minimalist living principles applied.
3. You discover more about yourself.
The whole idea of minimalism is to strip away that which is unnecessary. Focusing on learning more about yourself becomes more interesting. Without the clutter of a job you dislike, excess possessions, and non-meaningful activities to get in the way, you can discover thoughts, feelings, skills, and talents you didn’t realise you had. You develop a sense of purpose and meaning to life in a much more authentic fashion.
4. You’ll have less stress and pressure.
“Who is the wealthiest man? The one who is happy with his portion.” – Pirkei Avot
Living the life of a minimalist reduces the amount of stress in your life. You’ll have less debt, have fewer possessions to get in your way, and you’re free of the need to impress others. You’ll stop stressing about wanting more and learn to express gratitude for what you already have and gratitude is shown in study upon study to be good for our health in numerous ways. Have a read of this article for more on this subject:
Evidence Suggests That Being Materialistic Could Be Making You Unhappy – But Here’s The Antidote to That.
5. You’ll sleep better.
Do you ever lie in bed and stare, with utmost stress, at your messy closet? A recent sleep study has found that people who doze in cluttered rooms and are at high risk for developing hoarding disorder are more likely to have sleeping problems. This includes having trouble falling asleep at night and experiencing rest disturbances.
A 2015 paper published in the Sleep Journal by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine entitled “People at risk of hoarding disorder may have serious complaints about sleep” showed that participants with bedrooms, homes and lives in general that are crammed with stuff scored significantly higher on the Sleep Habits Survey (SH) and on three sub-scales of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), including sleep latency; sleep disturbances and daytime disturbances.
6. Minimalist living is good for the environment.
All the energy required to heat and cool large homes comes at the expense of the environment. Everything that goes in the trash impacts the environment. Luxury cars tend to be less efficient and produce more exhaust per mile. When you consume less, you impact the environment less. This is more important than ever when we examine the impact of human life upon the planet.
7. You’ll be more focused on others.
With your added free time and less need to impress others, you can start doing more for those you would like to help or spend more time with. You get to connect with presence and sincerity and your communications and relationships will have more authenticity.
8. You can pursue a more meaningful career or mode of employment.
When your need for income is decreased, a whole new world of opportunity is opened to you. That lower paying job that seems so satisfying can become a real possibility.
From my own experience of teaching hypnotherapy for the past 20 years, I can attest to this greatly. People have left careers and jobs they found to be deeply dissatisfying and become a hypnotherapist which has given them so much more life satisfaction and fulfilment, even if they were leaving incredibly high powered and highly paid positions.
9. Your life becomes filled with people and activities that are meaningful.
Eliminating the unnecessary creates more space for the things that matter. You’ll have more time and space for relationships and activities you enjoy. Having more meaning in life, satisfying meaning, that is part of my entire life philosophy.
10. The items you do own can be of much higher quality.
You’ll find that by limiting the number of shoes, books, tools, and other things you own, you’ll acquire items of higher quality. More isn’t better. Better is better. Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organised versus disorganised environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.
Minimalist living helps us to assess our lives and determine what is really important to us, and to live our lives from the heart and mind, rather than from our emotional baggage or obscured by stuff and clutter. And, of course, it means different things to different people.
Could minimalism be for you? Do you often wonder if there’s more to life? If so, you’re an excellent candidate to give minimalism a chance. Minimalist living is a fundamental change in your focus. Let everyone else worry about impressing the neighbours (literally and metaphorically). You have more meaningful things to consume your time and attention.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Is your life, mind and world seemingly cluttered and becoming hard to find true meaning and authenticity in?
Coaching with Adam Eason.
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist struggling to really find the wood for the trees and achieve the vision you have for your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
So true, thanks for the post Adam
Thanks for saying so Foued, best wishes to you, Adam.
The accumulation of ‘things’ seems a uniquely American phenomenon, and is physically evident in the rising incidence of obesity. So; an apt analogy is to consider a person who is carrying 300 pounds of adipose tissue; how that limits agility; the secondary health consequences; etc. In the same way, excess responsibility (chasing after money and things) limits happiness; produces relationship difficulties; etc. The difficulty is that while it is easy to see obesity as a negative condition, we do not recognize it in excessive busy-ness. In fact, most people mention debt and over-scheduling as positive things, indicative of ‘achievement’ and ‘success’. Yet, the negative consequences are just as real. So, adopting a minimalist lifestyle is only possible if one revises their paradigm of success as personal happiness.
Thank you for that Steve, I appreciate what you’ve written. I tend to think that by adopting a minimalist lifestyle of any kind, the mindset has to be right, and I absolutely concur that it also means shifting our perspective of what we consider to be success.
With my very best wishes to you, Adam.