Minimalist Lifestyle: How to Live More with Less
While some people enjoy the newest and best products, others are betting on a minimalist lifestyle. More and more people are realizing that they can get by with fewer things. Leading a minimalist lifestyle means getting rid of things that aren’t necessary. We’re talking about a philosophy that people have defended throughout history. It goes all the way back to ancient Greek philosophers or Zen Buddhist masters.
Today, the minimalist lifestyle is attractive because it’s a kind of kryptonite to the work-money-consumption cycle. On the other hand, according to Arthur Markman, psychology and marketing professor at the University of Texas at Austin, every generation revamps the previous generation. Minimalism seems to be the imminent lifestyle of newer generations.
The newer generations will react to the excessive consumerism of recent decades. “Many things are disposable and there are many means that promote consumption, so people are reacting against that,” he explains. For a large part of the newer generations, making the same decisions their parents made is simply not an option.
Furthermore, part of why the minimalist lifestyle is attractive is the spiritual side. People believe it’s good for our spiritual side, which has lately been abandoned due to religion’s loss of influence in society. Additionally, the growing social consciousness is also a reason why the minimalist lifestyle is so popular.
Being more selective of what we buy is a way of punishing those companies that don’t meet our criteria. This includes companies that don’t provide decent working conditions for their workers, consume too many natural resources, pollute, or use up too much energy, among others. The newer generations care about these issues.
Why is life so disordered?
Yes, it’s true that this world that we live in is by definition somewhat chaotic and unpredictable. There’s a lack of order we often contribute to with our lifestyle.
Many of us have jobs we don’t like and feel like advertisers pressure us too much to satisfy false needs. We give importance to slogans, eat foods that harm us, and spend time with people we don’t want to be with. If we do it, it’s not because somebody imposes it on us. Instead, we decide to do so because we believe it’s good for us or that we have no other choice.
However, it’s not completely our fault. From an early age, society pushes us to live this way. This stems from widespread advertising and indoctrination.
That’s why it’s not surprising that life seems so chaotic. The good news is that we can intervene in a positive way. We can lead a life that’s less complicated and more meaningful by adopting a minimalist lifestyle.
Minimalist lifestyle: Less complications and more meaning
The key to minimalism is getting rid of whatever doesn’t add value to your life and making room for whatever does. It’s about eliminating disorder, distractions, and unhealthy relationships. It’s also about making room for whatever’s essential to your wellbeing, like creativity, love, and fun.
Therefore, minimalism or a minimalist lifestyle tries to intentionally focus on what really matters and set aside what doesn’t. In other words, it’s about enjoying life more with less. Here’s how you can do it:
- Set aside whatever doesn’t make you feel good. Get rid of everything that gets in your way, distracts you, and makes you lose your focus and clarity. Keep whatever makes you feel good.
- Don’t buy what you don’t need. Don’t let advertising, fashion trends, and other people’s opinions fool you. Having things won’t make you happy. The truth is that once we have enough to meet our basic needs, products can’t improve our wellbeing. They can only provide a momentary gratification that soon disappears.
- Appreciate everything that you already have. Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Otherwise, you’ll always feel incomplete, dissatisfied, and a prisoner of your own desire.
- Minimize your digital distractions. Emails, instant messaging, social networks, and Internet browsing are all distractions that make you lose your focus on the present moment. Use digital media consciously.
- Improve your relationships with others. Even though it’s easier to connect with more people in the Internet era, we’ve become increasingly more disconnected. We lack true human relationships.
- Do one thing at a time. The minimalist lifestyle promotes living focused. In other words, making the most out of every moment. If we’re permanently distracted and/or engaged in multitasking, we can’t do that.
- Focus on the important goals. Most people usually have many goals they want to achieve. A minimalist lifestyle has a clear purpose. To live such a life, you must discover the few things that interest you the most and dedicate yourself to them.
- Take care of your body and your mind. Health is the starting point of happiness. Therefore, it’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. The three key elements are exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
- Cultivate mindfulness. The minimalist lifestyle requires a calm and peaceful mind. That is, a mind free of contradictory thoughts that’s in tune with the present moment. Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help you recover a peaceful state of mind. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judging, resisting, or feeding them. This will help you respond to situations consciously instead of overreacting or letting them overwhelm you.
Fumio Sasaki says that “Minimalism is a lifestyle in which you reduce your possessions to the least possible”. For Sasaki, “Living with only the bare essentials has not only provided superficial benefits such as the pleasure of a tidy room or the simple ease of cleaning, it has also led to a more fundamental shift”. By choosing a more minimalist lifestyle, Sasaki established his own definition of happiness.
This philosophy tells us that the more things you possess, the more power these things have over you. So, the more you depend on something, the more that something influences your ability to be happy and enjoy life. If we believe that our happiness depends on things, we strive to get more things out of fear that we’ll need them. In other words, we end up buying things “just in case” and end up becoming their slaves.