May 24, 2017

Unsuspected Benefits of Minimalism

Peeling back the layers brings less anxiety and more clarity.

I first learned of minimalism through The Minimalists. At first, I thought it sounded boring and unappealing, but the more I listened with cautious skepticism, the more sense it made to me.

What I started to realize is that it’s not about deprivation. It stems from a place of having enough and not wanting more. It’s a perspective we rarely embrace in our culture of accumulation. For example, I can have a Louis Vuitton purse. I can afford it, but I don’t want it. I could buy a new phone, laptop, or car every two years, but I have no desire for it. I have the means to buy all the clothes my closet could hold (which is a lot), but what for? I wear the same eight outfits pretty much all the time.

I’ve also realized this idea of less is more goes far beyond stuff. Lately, I’ve been getting rid of credit cards, because I find dealing with different credit card companies frustrating. It’s a drain on my energy to wade through 10 minutes of automated phone options just to get to a human being to answer a simple question, so I'd rather not have to do that with more than one company. I want fewer investment accounts for the same reason. It’s just easier to manage, with less mail to open and fewer passwords to remember.

There’s a sense of peace and ease in minimalism that feels expansive to me. It's the exact opposite of what you might assume a life of less to feel like, but the irony is that it feels like more. Minimalism isn't about forced austerity or even being frugal or cheap. Very often opting for less means investing in better quality at a higher initial cost, but it pays off over time.

I also appreciate the style of minimalism. The beauty of open space. The peacefulness of order. It makes me want to take a deep breath and relax. The less I have in my home, the fewer distractions I have competing for my attention. Very often this attention involves thoughts about how my things need organizing, repair, storage, or just my time and attention. These small stressors add up to chronic anxiety over time.

So I chose minimalism because it feels good. It feels open and opportunistic with lots of possibility for freedom and transformation. Less stuff, less stress. More white space, more clarity. More fluidity, more possibility.

The greatest treasure I’ve discovered in living with less is that it brings clarity to everything. The less complicated my physical, mental and emotional space has become, the more I realize what’s important to me and how I should invest my time and energy. If you’ve ever felt that you don’t have enough clarity in your life, start with all the things that block it. With each layer of stuff you pull back, you expose your true nature and what matters most.

Published by Caren Magill in Lifestyle

Photography by Norm Architects

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