The events leading up to a minimalist life are usually preceded by a series of shopping trips to the mall to buy whatever you can afford with the money you have, or borrow on credit. You quickly take all of your newly acquired things home, hoping for happiness with a sinking feeling in your heart that something big is still missing – and it is. When you look at it that way, consumerism doesn’t quite sound so appealing. Yet, it is the chosen way of life for a majority of the population, though more and more people are slowly coming around to experience the benefits of minimalism, finding out that life with less, is actually more.
More experiences, more freedom, more relaxation, more free time, more money.
It is also about less.
Less stress, less mess, less work.
And it is about better health, better financial situations, a better living environment and better relationships – after all, deep connections take time to nurture.
For those sagacious individuals who end up choosing a minimalist lifestyle, the benefits are innumerable, and sometimes quite unexpected. Listed above are the commonly talked about comforts of a minimalist lifestyle, yet if we dig a little deeper, there is still much more to discover as I have personally found out over the past fifteen years.
In a nutshell, my minimalist journey started with a move abroad, landing 5,564 miles away from Seattle. Twenty small boxes sailed across the sea and traveled by land, only to come a few months later than expected. It turned out that we could make ends meet without our so-called “beloved belongings”. This led my husband and I to become intrepid homesteaders, able to deal with anything life had to throw at us, and throw some curveballs it did!
Outside of having less money, not more, which happens to all of us from time to time, we began to comprehend what true minimalism was all about. For us, it was a way to slow down and reconnect with nature in the literal sense, taking our shoes off to get grounded on a daily basis. It shaped us into the environmentally conscious beings that we are today. As we face a changing climate, the ability to adapt is priceless and minimalists are at an advantage as they already know their physical limits.
Yet, it is often the intangible items on the list that hold the most importance in life, let’s explore the four hidden benefits of minimalism:
More quiet time.
Perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of minimalism is the peace that comes along with owning less. Getting rid of our television was one of the best things we have ever done. The quiet that ensued allowed us more time to talk to each other, strengthening our marriage and empowering our daughter to engage in life outside the screen. Even now, we take regular digital detox days to make way for a simple life lived offline. Remove email, social media notifications and the phone, then you will rediscover how calm life can be. Quiet is essential for deeper thinking and for not losing sight of what matters most in your life.
Make way for creativity!
The combination of slowing down, paired with moments of silence, translates into room for creativity to blossom. This can be taken in any which way, from singing, to songwriting or playing an instrument, all the way to writing poetry, which can lead us to greater self-awareness as we strengthen our brain and cultivate our vocabulary at the same time. It is multi-tasking to a higher degree, quite different than having twenty tabs open on our desktop. In a noiseless environment we are able to think straight as we regain the ability to trust our intuition once again.
Discover concealed confidence you never knew existed.
As you pare down your belongings, you will have the chance to discover who you really are – not the person who others expect you to be. Step into your new role with confidence and be proud of who you have become! With all the quiet, creative time you have on hand, you can focus on yourself. No, not in a selfish way, but in a personal growth kind of way, where you bring the attention to your goals and career, so that you become the inspiration for others. Sit with your thoughts for long enough and you will find that the necessary courage is already within.
More energy for caring about the environment.
Once you have fully embraced minimalism, the environment will be in the forefront. It will become the reason for buying, or not buying, certain things; just as it will make you aware of the damage that can be caused when we purchase for all the wrong reasons. Focus on quality over quantity, go plastic-free or zero-waste. Do whatever you feel compelled to do to live lighter on the planet.
Now, that you have unearthed more confidence and visualized your boundless creativity, you will be able to hear that nature is calling you outside.
Set down that screen, open the window or step outdoors, and take in a deep breath of fresh air and discover the (un)hidden benefits of minimalism.
Minimalism is comfortable freedom. Contemplate that.