Embracing minimalism can have profound physical and mental health benefits. Minimalism is a lifestyle trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years. However, minimalism is more than just a trend–the practice of decluttering and simplifying your living space in order to create a more peaceful and harmonious environment can have lifelong benefits.
Minimalism can benefit our physical health in many ways:
- Help maintain a healthy lifestyle: Clutter can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as it can be difficult to find the items you need to exercise or prepare healthy meals. A minimalist lifestyle carves out more free time during the day making exercise and healthy eating easier to achieve. A Cornell University study from 2016, found that stress triggered by clutter can trigger unhealthy coping and avoidance strategies, like eating junk food, oversleeping or binge-watching Netflix.
- Decreased risk of injury: Excess clutter can make navigating your home dangerous due to tripping hazards or objects falling. This is especially an issue for the elderly or those with mobility issues.
- Improved air quality: Minimalism can also help to improve air quality by reducing the number of possessions in our homes, which can trap dust, mold, and other allergens.
- Better sleep: Minimalism can help to create a peaceful and relaxing environment that promotes better sleep by getting rid of distractions and unnecessary possessions.
- Improved organization: Minimalism can help to improve organization by reducing the number of possessions, which makes it easier to find things and maintain a clean environment, saving time and energy.
- Better hygiene: Minimalism can help to promote better hygiene by reducing the number of possessions, making it easier to clean and maintain a healthy environment.
- Reduced consumption: Minimalism can help to reduce consumption and make us more conscious of our purchases, which can have a positive impact on our physical well-being by reducing the impact of overconsumption on the environment and on our wallets.
- Increased physical activity: Minimalism often involves getting rid of unnecessary possessions, which can be a form of light physical activity. This can help to improve our overall fitness and well-being.
Minimalisms many mental health benefits:
- Reduced stress: Minimalism can help to reduce stress by simplifying our environment and reducing decision fatigue. When surrounded by clutter, our brains are constantly bombarded with visual stimuli, making it difficult to truly relax and unwind. Fewer possessions lead to fewer choices each day lessening decision fatigue. Studies have shown that people who practice minimalism feel calmer, more in control and less anxious. Women are disproportionately affected by excess clutter. A 2009 study out of UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) determined that women had higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in relation to the amount of clutter in their homes. The cortisol levels of males did not fluctuate in relation to clutter levels.
- Increased mindfulness: Minimalism promotes mindfulness by making individuals more aware of their possessions and surroundings, which can help to create a sense of control and clarity.
- Improved self-esteem: Minimalism can help to improve self-esteem by reducing the need for external validation through material possessions. It allows individuals to focus on their own values and beliefs, rather than comparing themselves to others.
- Increased creativity: Minimalism can help to increase creativity by reducing distractions and simplifying the environment, which allows individuals to focus on their own thoughts and ideas.
- Improved relationships: Minimalism can help to improve relationships by reducing the need for material possessions, which can lead to a greater focus on personal connections and experiences.
- Increased productivity: When we are surrounded by clutter, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. With less to distract us it becomes much easier to focus and be productive. This can be especially beneficial for those who work from home and help to improve work-life balance.
The physical and mental health benefits of minimalism outline just how much this philosophy can transform our lives. Eliminate the clutter and you can create a more peaceful home that promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps you to focus on the things that are truly important. It’s not about getting rid of everything you own, it’s about getting rid of the things that don’t bring you value, and keeping the things that do.
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