How much stuff you have in your life will have a HUGE impact to your stress level and quality of life. I think we all can have a less stressful minimalist lifestyle by living a more minimalist lifestyle but not everyone is disciplined enough to reach this goal. This is why I believe the best approach to life is to live a simple or “moderate minimalist lifestyle”.
A moderate minimalist lifestyle is about clearing the clutter from your life and adjusting your mindset so you can live with more purpose and peace.
Socrates once said “The secret of happiness you see is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less”.
In other words, its a way to live a happier and Less Stressful minimalist Lifestyle.
Does Having Stuff Make You Happy?
The truth is having stuff will never make you happy. Buying stuff brings temporary happiness and more stress into your life.
The average home in America has over 300,000 items in it. Did you know your home has this much junk hidden away? If each item cost $5, this would have cost the average American $1,500,000. If we never bought all that stuff, and instead invested that money, we all will be multimillionaires by now. I bet having that much money will provide a lot of stress relief.
The purpose of a minimalist life is to be grateful for the things in your life. Minimalist believe you should get use and enjoyment out of everything around you.
This is important and worth repeating. The stuff in your life needs to bring you joy. If it doesn’t, then it just brings stress.
There are plenty of resources on the Internet to help you on your way. One great source is the “Becoming Minimalist” website and several YouTube videos. They should inspire you to live the way we were all meant to live.
Once you realize this, people often want to reverse course and clear out all the junk in their lives. This is a great start. Selling or giving away the things in your life that doesn’t bring you joy will instantly reduce your stress and provide a less stressful minimalist lifestyle.
What usually happens is instead of getting rid of stuff, people will rent a storage unit (at over $100 per month) and avoid dealing with their junk or buying addition. This is not productive. There is a reason why storage unit business is a 38 Billion dollar business and 10% of all Americans currently have one.
If you are part of the 90% of Americans without a storage unit, then congratulations on avoiding that pitfall. You have the self discipline to deal with this problem.
Before clearing away everything you don’t want in your life anymore and make long lasting improvements, you need to know why you bought all that stuff to begin with. If you don’t correct your buying habits, you will just refill your life with junk and empty your bank account, and that is not progress
Why Do We Buy So Much Stuff?
Most people feel good when they buy something. It is natural to most people. Our culture is actually designed to fulfill this human desire.
Everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you something that you don’t need, and tell you it will bring you happiness. They do this in an effort to make money, so they can go and buy something they don’t need, to try and make themselves happy. Everyone is searching for happiness in consumerism but no one will ever find it there.
Adyashanti is a American spiritual teacher and has an explanation of why most people feel happy when they buy something new.
“When we make a purchase and/or get what we want, we are temporarily happy and fulfilled. But the reason for happiness is not because we got what we wanted, but because for a brief period of time, we stopped wanting, and thus we experience peace and happiness.”
This simple conclusion is the answer why minimalism works great in in providing a less stressful minimalist lifestyle.
If you can train yourself to stop wanting stuff, then you will be able to experience a Less Stressful Minimalist Lifestyle.
This is easier said then done. We are inundated through media and society that more is always better than less. We are taught that wanting more is the key to success.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
How to Retrain Yourself Not to Buy Things?
You have a very strong desire to experience peace and happiness. Buying and acquiring new things is one very easy, but temporary, way to fulfill this need.
Replacing this short term fix with a better long term solution is the key to future happiness and reduced stress.
One way to do this is to replace buying physical things in your life with doing something you enjoy doing. This will fill your body with the same endorphins but do it in a healthier way.
Most people have a never ending list of hobbies they enjoy but don’t spend nearly enough time doing them. What do you love doing with your time? Does anything on this list excite you?
- Spending time with family and Friends
- Personal Hobbies
- Playing Sports or Exercise
- Going Out (to Movies, Beach, Restaurants, Concerts, Hiking)
I propose the following. The next time you have the urge to go shopping, just don’t go. Instead, spend time on one of your favorite hobbies.
If you like reading, then go to the library. If you like exercise, then go on a hike at a local park. Short on time, call a friend.
Making this one simple change should replace that temporary feeling of “shopping contentment” with a better long term approach.
This is the start of the stress free lifestyle you have been looking for all these years. It has been hiding behind a shopping addition!
Changing a habit you have been doing for decades is not easy. The key is to take it one little step at a time. Never give up on your dream and make sure you are always taking steps towards your goals.
Interested? Want to learn more about the benefits of decluttering your life?
I created a dedicated post on “20 Reasons to Declutter Your Life Today“. This post will convince you of all the reasons your clutter is holding you back from being happy and will get you back on track to having success in your life. If you are having trouble deciding where you want your life to go and how you should define success in your life, read my article on “Success is a Journey And a Destination“.
There is a great TEDx Talk about how making tiny changes in your daily habits can bring you great success in your long term life goals. I hope you can watch it and learn that your success is simply making just a few small tweaks in what you do everyday.
Life is stressful enough and the last thing we need to do is add additional stress items into it. Complexity is additional stress.
Make life simple and focus on the important things in your life, then disregard the rest. Disregard the past, forget about your problems, focus on the present, improve yourself every day, and get more stuff done. Sounds simple? It is.
There is a slight difference between minimalist and simple living. Simple living is how I define moderate minimalism and has become the focus of my life. I can clearly see the benefits of it and how it is creating the less stressful minimalist lifestyle I experience every day.
If you are feeling stressed out all the time, why not give simple living or a moderate minimalist lifestyle a try. It will change your life for the better and I think we all need a reboot every now and then.
Think of this reboot as just adjusting course in a direction that will provide you more money, less stress, and happier memories.
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