Minimalism and Mental Health

By Kerry Lin

Can money buy happiness? According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, money was ranked at the bottom as it is a basic need. The needs above money are things that money cannot buy, such as belongings and esteem. This explains why we want more things—more clothing, bigger houses, and more cards— yet we are not any happier because we are losing the focus of our lives. That being said, minimalism can help you prioritize your important needs such as relationships and family by throwing away excess items. Not only does it make room for you to concentrate on things that actually matter, but also there are a lot of reasons to become a minimalist. Here are the top five reasons for living as a minimalist:

Less Stress and Anxiety

A minimalist home is less stressful. Clutter is a form of visual distraction as everything in our visions pulls at our attention. A minimalist home can simply feel calmer. There is a little experiment that you can try by comparing two desktops: a clean desk and a cluttered desk. Think of the desks separately and imagine studying on each of the desks. Notice the different mental states between the two desks. This experiment shows that having fewer objects can lead to less stress and anxiety. By reducing the physical items, you can be more focused on things that you are passionate about.

Save more Money

There is one thing that I want to clarify: minimalism doesn’t automatically save you money, it is the definition of minimalism that drives you to become a wise spender. Impulse buying is a common behavior today; we often purchase items as a result of our pleasure, will, and temptations. Unless the items we purchase are necessary for our daily lives, it is likely that they would appear under your beds unnoticed. On the other hand, minimalists think carefully before purchasing an item: What values does it add to my life? Would I want this item after a year? By asking these questions, minimalists are evaluating the benefits and drawbacks when buying the item. In such a way, they are consuming less and saving more money. As a student, you can accumulate the savings by storing it in a bank account for future investments or tuitions! Who doesn’t want to see their digits in the bank account to go higher rather than going down?

Easier to Clean

Have you ever felt an urge to clean your room, but didn’t know where to start because of the numerous objects on your desks? It would be such a hassle to put away the objects and relocate them after cleaning and most of all, it would be very time-consuming. Indeed, the top reason why people hate to clean is that they are annoyed by the number of things in their house. The first step of living as a minimalist is to declutter the space by removing things that we don’t need. By doing so, the cleaning process would become much expedite as we have to do less cleaning in general.

Be More Productive

Our possessions consume our time. Whether you are cleaning, organizing, or purchasing them, the more you own, the less time you would have. For example, the average person spends sixty hours of grocery shopping per year, not including the time you organize the groceries and time spent on the road. With sixty hours, you could have two more days to study for the SAT or go to the gym sixty more times! On the other hand, minimalists shop with awareness: they know what they want and what they don’t. Unlike

others who waver between different items, minimalists make shopping lists which can save more time for more important things. To sum it all up, more possessions take away more time. We only live once. Why should we waste our time on trivial when we could have used it more wisely?

Display what you value

People often think minimalism is about removing all material possessions but minimalism is actually about removing items that don’t matter as much to you. The process of becoming a minimalist requires you to understand what you think is an important thing in your life. Imagine a room with four bookshelves, eleven figurines, two snow globes, various pictures, and countless other arrangements. Can you quickly identify what matters to the owner the most? You can’t because the room is filled with so many unimportant things. One of the benefits of being a minimalist is you can visibly declare what matters to you. Think of the objects that represent you, such items should be what a stranger would recognize most easily if they go to your room because they represent who you are.

Not to mention, these are only a few benefits of living as a minimalist. There are many more advantages of adopting a minimalist lifestyle such as experiencing freedom and enjoying the calmness you never had before. Nevertheless, it is understandable that it may be hard for you to step out of your comfort zone and throw out your possessions, as soon as you have got a taste of minimalism, I bet you cannot back away from it!

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