The Minimalist Approach to Stress Reduction

The Green Crunchy Mother

Beige and Black Chair in Front of White Desk

You can’t change something until you admit there’s a problem and you’re ready to make the necessary changes to fix it. And that includes stress.

The good news, you can have some control over how stressed (or stress free) you are. Don’t fall into believing the myth that you can’t do anything about stress because there will always be work responsibilities, family responsibilities, debt, and people needing you and your time. This is true, there will always be things in your life demanding your attention but you CAN do something about it—and embracing a minimalist lifestyle is a great place to start.

First, let’s briefly discuss about what minimalist living means.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to defining this. It’s going to be a different mindset and experience for each individual so keep this in mind if you start doing any sort of research on the topic and find yourself feeling confused about what it is and isn’t. 

The easiest way to think about minimalism is this:

It’s purging all the things in your life you don’t need or don’t use – paring down to the bare essentials, leaving you with an uncluttered surrounding and a more simplistic life. This also means letting go of that overbooked schedule. It’s all about breaking free from the bondage of commercialism that today’s society is trapped in and not believing any more that you have to have the newest phone, car, or clothing trends to survive.

This doesn’t mean that having material things is wrong. Even minimalists still need things. It’s just important to figure out which things are essential and which you can live without. 

How Does Minimalism Reduce Stress?

Think about your current situation. Is your living environment so cluttered that half the time you can’t find what you’re looking for? Do you have a large house you despise cleaning because it takes so much time? Do you find yourself staring at a closet full of clothes but stressed because you just don’t have anything to wear?

Now think about your business. Do you have mountains of debt? Do you feel the need to always buy the latest and greatest software or toy in your industry? Have you made some poor purchasing decisions? Do you feel like you’re “on call” 24/7 because you are afraid to invest in staff or independent contractors? All those things put a lot of pressure on you and cause a great deal of stress. There are so many reasons stress is bad but you already know that. The point is that minimalist living reduces stress because you’ll be getting rid of the clutter, maybe even downsizing and moving into something smaller. You’ll start clearing you calendar of things you don’t enjoy doing. In other words, you will start saying NO and leaving it at that; after all, no is a complete sentence!

As you go through and purge possessions you can sell things to pay down your debt, too. Other things you can donate to local charities or foundations that help those in need and feel good about what you’re doing. Doing all these things will reduce your worry and anxiety which of course means less stress!

Here’s the bottom line. A minimalist lifestyle is an easy way to reduce stress and may include any or all of these ideas:

  • Downsizing living arrangements
  • Getting rid of your car (or only driving it when necessary)
  • Getting rid of cable
  • Getting rid of TV entirely or keeping just one
  • Downsizing your wardrobe to a very minimal, functional one (no more stress about what to wear!)
  • Give up expensive cell phones and switch to the most basic one
  • Say no to commitments that are toxic
  • No more obsessing over having to keep up with the Joneses (in other words, no more excessive spending on things not needed!)
  • Live on a frugal budget 
  • Sell or donate material things that are no longer needed or useful to your new lifestyle

The beauty of embracing minimalism is that you get to choose what works for you and leave the rest behind. It’s your life. Design it the way you like. That alone will dramatically reduce your stress levels.

Are you leading a minimalist lifestyle?

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