Many people want to achieve the perfect life. They work more and see their families less so that they can buy a bigger home and nice things to put in it. They do this to feel secure and content. But no matter how much they have they still feel discontent and unhappy.
“People look for contentment in all sorts of places. Some look for it in a high paying job and are discontent the first time they are passed over for a raise. Some look for it in a large home and yet are discontent every time it needs improvements or maintenance. Many have sought contentment in a department store believing one more item will fulfill them, yet when they get home with their purchase they still feel like something is missing,” says Joshua Becker.
Most of the time you feel contentment and happiness in the little moments. These moments could be when you’re watching a movie with your family or reading.
If you want to have lasting contentment there is one step you can take that has many benefits. Minimalism.
Minimalism can impact your life in many positive ways. It can improve your relationships, reduce anxiety, and create a positive mindset.
What Is Minimalism
According to Joshua Becker, “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.”
Becoming minimalist doesn’t mean that you have to sell your home or give away everything you own. And it doesn’t mean that you have to live in a tiny house either. Some people live in a tiny home because it brings them financial freedom and the ability to travel as often as they want. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone.
In his book The More Of Less Joshua Becker says that many people believe that a minimalist home has no furniture and boring white walls. “To me minimalism is exactly the opposite.” says Becker. “It speaks to me of freedom, of peace, and of joy. It’s about space that has been opened up to make room for new possibilities. It’s truly good riddance because it clears away obstacles to the lives we want to live.”
With a new blank canvas your space looks bigger. Your creativity awakens, and you have new insights about your life that you’ve never had before.
A minimalist life doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. You can customize it based on your goals and life purpose. “As best you can, identify the life you want to lead and then pursue the kind of minimalism that will get you there.”, Becker suggests.
Benefits Of A Minimalist Life
I know what you’re thinking. How many benefits can there really be? You might have read about how minimalism gives you peace of mind, financial freedom, less stress, and the ability to travel. But there is so much more to minimalism than these.
Other benefits include;
A Renewed And Stronger Marriage
Stronger Parent-Child Relationships
And A Positive Mindset
Anxiety is something that everyone goes through daily. You have pressures at work, responsibilities at home, and even expectations you might have for yourself.
Clearing out all the stuff in your home that you don’t use will clear away all the mental clutter that makes you feel anxious. “The things that surround you are triggering thoughts, even when they aren’t immediately conscious. This is why you’ll feel more relaxed in open, clean spaces. The visual reminders you’re leaving yourself are that of calmness.” says author Brianna Wiest in her article 12 Reasons Why Minimalism May Be The Answer To Anxiety.
It has been my experience that uncertainty is a big anxiety trigger. Sometimes things happen unexpectedly. For example, you might have lost your job or found out that a loved one has cancer. Seeing a cluttered space will only heighten your anxiety. It will surround you with negative thoughts and reminders.
A clean, clutter-free home will give you a peaceful and positive sanctuary. Every time you see your space your mind will fill with positive thoughts. It will remind you that things will get better. I’m not saying that your anxiety will vanish. You will still have anxiety and you might even have a panic attack. But having a peaceful, clutter-free space will ease your anxiety and prevent you from having a string of panic attacks.
A Renewed And Stronger Marriage
A lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons people get divorced. Today people work late and on weekends just to be able to buy a bigger home and more stuff to put in it. When they’re not working they spend their time cleaning and organizing the things they don’t use.
This could be because they want to have the same stuff that their neighbors have. Or it could be that they want to provide a sense of security for their family. It is because of this that they feel disconnected from their kids and their spouse.
According to Marriage.com some of the reasons for a lack of communication are;
Making your spouse responsible for your happiness
And poor listening skills
A minimalist lifestyle gives you more time to communicate with your spouse. You don’t have to work overtime and spend hours cleaning. Instead of fighting about money, you can spend your time planning date night or a romantic vacation. Most importantly you will have more time to talk about the things on the list above. And you will have your own time to find what makes you happy without adding pressure to your spouse.
A great way to spark communication is to talk about the goals that both of you have. You can talk about the goals you have for your marriage and for your family, the kind of life you want to live, and the journey you’re going to take to get there.
Stronger Parent-Child Relationships
Now that you have some free time, you can start reconnecting with your kids by developing daily habits. According to Dr. Laura Markham there are 10 Habits To Strengthen A Parent-Child Relationship.
Aim for 12 hugs (or physical connections) every day.
Slow down and savor the moment.
Listen, and Empathize
And Turn off technology when you interact
Accomplishing these habits is easier as a minimalist because you aren’t overworked or overstressed. Too much anxiety causes you to get angry or frustrated at the people around you. This causes your kids to feel more anxious and disconnected from you.
If a clean space will reduce your anxiety, playing with your kids will reduce theirs. “Making laughter a daily habit also gives your child a chance to laugh out the anxieties and upsets that otherwise make him feel disconnected — and more likely to act out,” says Dr. Markham.
With more time and less anxiety, you can put aside distractions and listen to your kids. Showing up means giving them 100 percent of your attention without talking. This means turning off your phone, tv, or anything else that gets in the way. Just listening to your child will give him confidence and show him that he can come to you with any problem.
“The habit of seeing things from your child’s perspective will ensure that you treat her with respect and look for win/win solutions. It will help you see the reasons for behavior that would otherwise drive you crazy.”
A Positive Mindset
A friend of mine once told me “Think positive thoughts and say them out loud. The positive words you said will come true. If you say something negative, that will come true.”
When you and your family become minimalists, you will develop a positive mindset. One of the reasons is that a clean space and less financial strain will give you peace of mind. Spending time with your family and on the activities that you enjoy will make you feel contentment and joy.
Accomplishing your minimalist goals will give you more confidence. Positive thoughts will surround you throughout your day. You will believe that anything is possible and start to wonder why you didn’t become a minimalist sooner.
How To Get Started
Getting started with minimalism is like accomplishing any goal. You take small steps first, then take bigger ones when you’re more confident.
“…begin your more of less journey at the easiest possible place,” suggests Becker. Build up momentum by clearing the clutter from your automobile, a drawer, your living room, or maybe your bathroom cupboard. You’ll begin to experience success and see the benefits of living with less. As you do you’ll learn the skills necessary for confronting the more challenging areas in your home and life.”
When deciding what to give away and what to keep, think of the 80/20 rule. “As applied to our possessions, it means we use twenty percent of our stuff eighty percent of the time, and we use the other eighty percent of our stuff only twenty percent of the time,” says Becker.
Originally published at medium.com