Your newsfeed and timelines are probably flooded with companies promoting #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. Unsurprisingly, brands are distastefully trying to capitalise on this this week *shivers*. This doesn’t sit well with me but the silver lining is, bloggers are writing uplifting posts on mindfulness and confidence. It’s been so inspiring to see so much positivity online, and people developing helpful resources for others. I figured I’d do the same, whilst staying in keeping with the general aesthetic of my blog. Believe me, the ex-neuroscience-university-student in me wants to write about neurons, synapses and signalling… BUT I’ll save that for another time and place. Instead I’m going to talk about something equally close to my heart, minimalism and simplicity in a capitalist world.
The push to get people to constantly buy products is everywhere. From billboards to commercials and digital ads, we’re exposed to ads every day that are trying to convince us to part with our cash. If you somehow manage to ignore those (maybe you live under a rock?), you wouldn’t have missed your friends and family unknowingly doing the exact same thing on social media. Every time someone posts about how excited they are to get the new phone or laptop, it creates a sense of peer pressure that might leave you feeling like you need to buy that too. I’m so involved in social media and digital marketing, it’s only natural I’ve become mindful of the negative affect this type of advertising has had on society. It’s important to remember we need balance.
SO many people are choosing to live with less. Living with less can be better for the environment and it can be better for your mental and spiritual health to cleanse what you own (these are just two of the reasons I’m beginning to think this way). So here it is, my little contribution to #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek with some tips to help you transition to a minimalist lifestyle making baby steps without feeling like you’re missing out!
Focus on What You Gain
The first way to being living with less is to clean out what you have now. Throwing lots of stuff away can be discouraging, so use your cleaning time to focus on what you’re going to gain once you have less clutter. It could be a spiritual benefit to have less drama from all the unnecessary junk going on in your life. Think about what your motivations are to start a new lifestyle and put your mind towards what you’re going to gain once you get there.
Use What You Have
Living with less doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out and start from scratch. You can use what you have to find joy without needing to have everything. An easy way to do this is be grateful for what you have. Really try to think of a time where you wanted to be where you’re at now, and be thankful for what you’ve accomplished. It will help you feel more at peace with settling for a life that has less in it than before.
Go Full On DIY
Buying less might mean that you make your own stuff more often, so try to learn as much as you can about how you can replace what you buy the most. Cleaning supplies are a good place to start, and you can make pretty much all of them with your own supplies. Vinegar can be diluted in hot water to replace window cleaners, and baking soda naturally deodorises smelly mineral buildups in sinks and toilets. Think laterally.
Think About How You’re Helping the Earth
So much about the production process that occurs every day in large factories hurts the earth in one way or another. They pollute soil and groundwater, and create air pollution that kills nearly 200,000 people each year. If more people live with less, less products will have to be created, slowing down production and the amount of pollution that’s created. Don’t even get me started on how much plastic is in the sea…
— ATTN: (@attn) December 10, 2017
Create New Things
When you go out and buy things, there’s a bit of thrill that you’re adding something new to your life. That need for newness is hard to get rid of if it’s what fuels your buying habits, so try creating new things once you’ve limited what you have. Making something new like art or even putting a jigsaw puzzle together will make you feel more at peace without having to go swipe your card or hand over money for stuff that will only give you happiness for a few minutes.
Consider the Value of Everything
Let’s say you narrow down what you have in your life to just a few things. In your living room you have your sofa, some pillows and a blanket, a TV, your laptop and maybe a tablet. Have you stopped to consider the value of what you have? Even if you only have a TV or a phone, you have technology in your hands that can give you unlimited hours of entertainment and education. There’s value in everything you own, even if it’s not much.
Make New Friends
It’s hard to do anything alone, especially a makeover on your lifestyle. If you’re giving away or throwing out a majority of what you have, it will be a mental uphill battle to keep it going once you’re in a room that feels empty. Make friends who want to live less too so you can have people to talk to and a supportive community around you. They’ll make all the difference if you ever start to question yourself or wonder where to go from here.
You may not know anyone else trying to live with less, and that’s okay! You can always look to history for inspiration to keep you going. Socrates was a famous philosopher who lived with hardly any possessions. He chose instead to put all his energy into teaching others, which is why he’s still remembered and taught about today. SO inspiring ✨ Buying things won’t be what matters in the end. What will matter is how much good you put into the world and how you’ll be remembered.
People say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but the consumer-driven society that exists today pushes that message in every other way. Advertisements are constantly showing people who seem happier after buying their particular product, and it’s easy to fall into the mindset that they’re right. The truth is that you don’t need to have a lot of stuff in your life to be happy.
Happiness comes from your mindset. You can control that by taking control of what influences your life. Having less stuff will help you clear your mind and focus on what matters. You’ll be helping the earth, creating more and getting happiness out of what you have. You’ll end up saving more money, too. Living with less is worth it even if it’s only for a short time, so try it out for yourself and see just how much happiness you can find when you declutter your life.