“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” – The Minimalists
Minimalism is hard to define in its entirety, but I think this quote does a pretty darn good job. It’s a philosophy that goes way beyond a clean-white-lines aesthetic and has proven itself quite impactful. You can use it in all aspects of your life, including your possessions, your relationships, your thoughts, your finances, and so much more. It is a way to let go of what does not serve us so that we can create more space for what does. No matter the focus of your minimalist practice, we begin with questions: Do I really want this? What purpose does this serve? Does this align, or not align, with my values?
As you might guess, these initial questions can lead you to ask a lot of subsequent questions. It’s easy to get caught up in not knowing the answers – I think that is what keeps a lot of us keeping things in our life that don’t necessarily have a purpose. These questions are tricky, but that’s why I love minimalism. If we want to live with less, we have to take the time to sit with these questions. Minimalism teaches us to slow down, spend a moment with the things in our life, and really consider if it is something we want to continue to hold. It teaches us to understand our values more deeply. More importantly, it teaches us that we can always make the choice to let go.
Many people, myself included, have felt the benefits of practicing minimalism. It has allowed me to let go of items I had branded as sentimental but were not benefiting me anymore. I’ve taken a new perspective to my relationships, only putting efforts into the ones that held value by my definition, not the ones I thought I simply “should”. I have more space to sit with my emotions and attend to my own needs. The decisions I make are made with more care and intention. I’m more in touch with my values, and my self, and am therefore able to create a life that belongs uniquely to me, not my stuff.
To sum all this up, minimalism is a pretty rockin’ foundation for whatever kind of life you want to cultivate for yourself. By letting go, you can bring in more of what you actually want. Though, perhaps one of my favortie things about minimalism is that it leaves you with more room for discovery, both about the world and yourself. Minimalism teaches us to ask the questions and leave space to listen to the answers. I don’t think there’s much of a better way to attend to our emotional wellbeing. Even if you don’t know what you want or where you’re going (and really, who does!?), practicing minimalism can help you figure it out. Just take it one simple step at a time.
In this episode, Dr. Cranford and I had so much fun talking about minimalism and all its quirks. We talk a bit about what minimalism actually is, and then dive right into what it means to us and how it makes a difference in our lives. You can find this episode of Psychiatria and all the others on your podcatcher of choice, embedded below, or at the links HERE. If you’ve already listened – What did you think? Do you have questions or feedback on something that could be improved? Ideas for future episodes? Any questions, comments, or feedback are welcome! Email me at [email protected]. Want to keep up with the show and get a heads up on new episodes? Find me on Instagram (@PsychiatriaPodcast). I can’t wait to hear from you! Stay curious, dear listeners.
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- The Minimalists on values
- Marie Kondo
- Dr. Cranford’s blog on minimalism
- Video on “Silent To-Do List” from Fumio Sasaki’s book Goodbye, Things
- Clutter and cortisol
- “A Clulttered LIfe: Middle Class Abundance” mini documentary (includes cortisol study)
- Some of our favorite minimalist content creators: