There are two ways that minimalism leads to happiness: direct and indirect.
We’re going to look at how you can use minimalism to really transform your mindset and your approach to your belongings but we will come to that in a moment.
In the meantime, what I am interested in is some of the direct consequences of minimalism and how that makes you happier.
I’ve touched on these things already but to recap, going minimal will help you to…
You have far less clutter in your home now and that means you have less tidying to do. You’ve introduced simple systems to help you wash up and keep the house clean and you are less demanding on yourself.
All this means that you can now come home and actually relax in a calm and beautiful environment. It’s impossible to overstate just what a positive impact this can have on your life or how much of a change this makes.
You live a less expensive lifestyle and thus you can actually work fewer hours. When you realize that you can achieve all those things you want to achieve without staying in work until 8 pm and without taking on lots of extra responsibility and overtime, then you realize that you don’t need to work a bigger job to be happier!
Now you’re coming home earlier and not bringing that stress home with you. That makes you a better friend, a better partner and a better parent. What about job satisfaction you ask? Well, perhaps you need to stop looking at your work as a way to achieve your satisfaction. What about gaining satisfaction from your own projects instead? How about writing an amazing novel, getting into incredible shape, or going on amazing travels?
What about setting up a highly rewarding side business? Or working online?
Meanwhile, you also have less work to do around the house and fewer financial strains. If the boiler breaks, you won’t have a fit realizing that you can’t afford it – you’ve got plenty of disposable income! There’s no debt, no risk of not making your next mortgage repayment…
The less you realise you need, the more relaxed and fun life becomes again!
Less stress and fewer physical ties mean more freedom. You don’t need to worry about your house being robbed while you’re away and you don’t need to worry about bringing huge amounts of stuff with you if you choose to move house. When you have more space in your home, you have more freedom even just to move around in that space!
Freedom is such a fundamental part of the human experience and absolutely essential to our happiness!
But that happiness goes much deeper. Because what minimalism is really about is knowing that you have everything you need to be happy right here, right now. Get off that hedonic treadmill and recognize that fact and you can start to really appreciate how lucky you are and you can learn to be happy with anything.
On the other hand, if you always feel you want more and if you’re always pushing toward that next thing, then you’ll find you never really stop to enjoy the things you already have.
Put a stop to this by developing a gratitude attitude.
A good way to do this is to spend every evening taking stock of everything you have and everything you’re grateful for, for just five minutes. This might mean writing those things down in a notepad, or it can mean running through them mentally.
Try to think of different things each night. And there is so much to be grateful for. You can be grateful for the fact you are in good health. You can be grateful for the fact that you have people who love you. And you can be grateful for the fact that you have a roof over your head at all.
Another tip is to make sure you schedule a time to enjoy the things you own and the space you have. Better yet, make sure that you are truly enjoying the things that you are doing as well. We have our list of things that we can do for an evening and this can be an eclectic range of things from going stargazing in your own garden, to sleeping in the summer house, to building a robot with the kids.
Whatever the case, try to be creative when writing this list and to think about all the different ways that you can use the space you already have to have fun. Look at objects you have around you and try to think of the new and exciting ways you could have fun with them or do something worthwhile or fulfilling. Try to rediscover that child’s sense of wonder in your own home.
But what’s more, is that you then need to take the time to really reflect on what you’re doing and how fortunate you are. This is called being ‘present’ or being ‘mindful’ and it is currently a very big topic in psychology. It essentially means that instead of letting your mind wander to work and to all the things you’re stressed about right now, you’re instead going to stop and reflect on what you’re doing and how much fun you’re having. When you’re sitting in your conservatory or orangery, take a moment to think how great it is to be able to see the stars outside while you sit warm indoors.
When you eat your breakfast cereal tomorrow morning, stop to think about how much you’re enjoying it. Tonight, think about how comfortable you are in your bed and about how much you’re looking forward to eating that breakfast cereal tomorrow.
Learn that it really doesn’t matter what you have. What matters is your perception of the things you have. What matters is your appreciation of those things. You create value in the way you engage with the world and your belongings and in doing this, you bring value into your own life. You can be rich without spending a penny…