Why Is the Minimalist Lifestyle Becoming So Popular?
Minimalism is a philosophical approach to life that values quality over quantity. It’s a reaction to the runaway consumerism, stress, and overstimulation of our current culture. It’s about cutting back and investing your time, energy, and resources into meaningful pursuits.
Minimalism is about living with less, and in doing so, paving the road to freedom: freedom from stress; freedom from negative emotions; freedom from overstimulation; and freedom from the rat race.
Take some time to think about what minimalism means to you. For many, it generates images of loss; you might imagine a cabin in the woods, devoid of all the trappings of modern life, perhaps with matted hair and hessian sacks for clothes. That’s not appealing…
…and you’re right, but that image takes minimalism to its extremes. Fortunately, minimalism is on a spectrum. When you incorporate such a lifestyle, you can take it as far as you need to and no farther.
There’s no script, no “this is how you do it”. It’s simply about eliminating the superfluous – and this is largely subjective. Sure, you can live in that cabin in the woods (and, wow, is that tempting sometimes), but you can also adopt a minimalist approach by cutting back on your consumption, decluttering your home, or just quieting the emotional rollercoaster with mindfulness meditation. It all counts.
In essence, minimalism is about valuing yourself more than you value your material circumstances. It’s about living a simpler lifestyle.
Perhaps the best-known advocate for minimalism was Mahatma Gandhi, who called for self-sufficiency and simple living. You can decide for yourself how much of a minimalist life you want to lead.
A minimalist lifestyle incorporates many different facets and people walk down its road for different reasons. Let’s explore why people adopt minimalism in different areas of their lives…
…Minimalism as an Answer to Impending Environmental Destruction
Stuff, stuff, stuff – it’s everywhere, isn’t it? Just look around you right now. How much plastic can you see? How much of what you’re looking at right now will one day end up in landfill?
All of these things were supposed to enrich us, but rampant consumerism is creating an environmental disaster and it’s making us less, not more, happy.
Our current culture produces unprecedented levels of waste and it’s killing our planet.
Sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for food (plastic bags can look like jellyfish underwater); birds and fish with stomachs full of trash; hedgehogs, ducks, and even household pets trapped in beer packaging.
Our farms, cars, and factories belching poison into the atmosphere. Destroying our forests and affecting our health.
The list goes on and on…
It reminds me of the book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (the book behind the Blade Runner films). In it, the author creates the perfect imagery of our wasteful society. Each night, the population plugs into a matrix-type virtual reality where they have to climb mountains of kipple.
Kipple is stuff. It’s our waste, the things that seem so important in the moment, but in the end just drown us all in trash – literally.
By adopting a minimalist approach to our consumption, we can eliminate the kipple from our lives and help save our environment.
In this respect, minimalism means actively and consciously choosing to use less stuff. It means bringing paper bags to the grocery store and buying loose fruit and vegetables, buying food from ethical sources, driving less, avoiding disposable diapers, using natural cleaning products (instead of sending litres of bleach into the ecosystem), and much more.
People are moving towards minimalism because they care about our planet, our animals, and the health of humanity in general.
Every little helps, and just making one or two changes can make a huge impact – especially if we all do it.
…Minimalism as a Tool for Good Mental Health
It’s almost as if our environments create our mental health. The cluttered, fast-paced, overstimulated environment leads to racing thoughts, fractured thinking, and frazzled brains.
It makes sense that if we declutter our environments, eliminate the kipple, and create a quiet space, it will declutter our minds.
But we can go even further and create space in our thinking – reduce that never-ending mind chatter and calm our bodies.
There’s evidence that mindfulness meditation shrinks the part of our brains that triggers the flight and fight response (the amygdala), and enlarges the part of the brain responsible for emotional regulation (the hippocampus).
By practicing mindfulness meditation, we can reduce brain kipple (fearful, racing, and overstimulated thoughts) and create the mental space and freedom to exercise our emotional well-being.
Meditation is the perfect tool for creating a minimalist mindset and all the benefits that brings.
Minimalism removes the mind junk (money worries, stress, fear, anxiety) and gives you the mental space to enjoy your life and focus on the things that will bring you value – relationships, leisure, and learning.
See! It’s all about quality over quantity.
…Minimalism as a Tool for Self-Sufficiency
Modern life has positive, as well as negative effects, but the positives seem to shrink year-on-year and the negatives grow.
The economy hasn’t escaped this negative cycle.
In recent years, we’ve seen skyrocketing personal debt, stagnant wages, and the loss of the middle class. With long commutes, excessive overtime, and few vacation days, the 9 to 5 rat race, now feels like a full-on 24-hour rat wheel marathon.
Minimalism can help fix this. Becoming more self-sufficient helps us to get off the wheel more often. You can take this to extremes and become entirely self-sufficient, but even simple things can make a difference and free up time.
It’s all about reducing our reliance on the capitalist machine. The more self-sufficient you become, the more you’ll experience freedom. Small things, e.g., installing solar panels or growing your own vegetables, can make a huge difference.
…Minimalism as a Style Choice
There’s no denying that minimalist interior design is aesthetically pleasing. A clean, well-organised, living space free of junk and clutter brings a sense of freedom and openness to your surroundings and creates a calm atmosphere.
People are turning towards minimalist interior design because it creates a welcoming space that looks great and feels even better.
Why Is Minimalism Becoming More Popular?
Minimalism is a reaction to the overactive, stressful, and wasteful nature of our current society.
More and more people are choosing to incorporate minimalism into their everyday life because it provides relief from the never-ending stresses of modern life. For us, but also for the planet too.
Where capitalism starves your soul, minimalism feeds it.
And the great thing about minimalism is that it’s on a spectrum: you can choose to adopt as many elements as you want, at a pace and level that suits you.
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