5 Ways Minimalism Gives Your Control Back
I was speaking to my sister the other day and she told me she was a bit overwhelmed with life. Like many other people, she’s a wife, mother, has a full time job and can get stressed about life. As I listened to her speak, I realized one of the common threads in her life was clutter. I recognized this because it was 10 years ago I felt the same as her. Overwhelmed, stressed, unintentional and as if I had lost control.
It wasn’t until I started to be intentional about removing the clutter in my life where I felt I got control back. I started small and over time I was able to cover all areas of my life.
Here are 5 ways minimalism gives you control back:
1) Helps you focus on what’s important
2) Gives you space to unwind, rejuvenate
3) Gives you Financial Security
4) Helps you deciding on what to consume
5) Gives you time to do what you like
Let’s dive a little deeper in each area:
Helps you focus on what’s important
Minimalism will help you determine what’s important in your life. As you start to declutter different areas of your life – you’re going to have to ask some important questions.
Is this something I value? Or as Mari Kondo suggestss: “does it bring me joy”?
Is this something I need or is it just something want?
Why am I having a hard time letting go of this?
These sorts of questions are going to help you figure out what’s important to you. It’s going to lead you on a path of self-discovery as you say yes or no to keeping something in your life – or removing it.
You might even be surprised at what gets the cut and what doesn’t!
Space to unwind and rejuvenate without guilt
When you have clutter in your life, it’s difficult to relax – let alone relax stress free. To get control back, you might have to let go of some things.
This means you might have to disconnect once in a while from the digital world. Learn to say no to things that don’t provide value to your life. And, get control of spending habits and remove debt.
When you can clear the distractions – it creates space to relax and unwind with no guilt!
I started to put my phone on airplane mode when I go to bed. I only turn it back on once I’ve completed my morning routine of journaling and meditating. I also turn my work phone off at 4:30 and only turn it back on at 8:30 the next morning.
Gives you financial security
One of the biggest impacts minimalism will have on your life is your finances. This seems to be the area people are losing control in the most and with that comes stress and anxiety.
Minimalism will give you control to live within your means. It makes you say no to things you’d otherwise say yes to because you weren’t being intentional. Mainly because part of being a minimalist is not buying things you don’t need, as well as living debt free.
My husband and I have chosen to really focus on this area of our life. There was a time when we had over $50,000 of debt (although school debt – still stressful). We worked hard at making money to lower this debt – but we also had to make the decision to stop comparing ourselves to others. If we compared our lives to others, then we’d be going in circles. Paying debt – and then spending what we paid off.
For example – during the time we had $50,000 of debt – if our friends were going out for dinner, we had to say no. We didn’t have the money at the time – sure we could use credit – but that wasn’t what we wanted. We also had other friends who would go down south during the winter. We would have loved to go – but it didn’t make sense financially.
That $50,000 of debt is paid off now and all we have is our mortgage left to pay. Let me tell you the financial security of knowing we can live on one income is freedom.
To decide what you consume
Minimalism quiet the noise in our life which helps us notice things we never noticed before. One of the obvious issues with our culture is overeating. We are consuming foods like never before – and a lot of foods are unhealthy foods.
Minimalism gives you the space to control your consumption patterns. Before you consume something you have the control now to decide if it’s worth it.
Is it part of your value system and is it worth your energy?
How does this impact your mood – is it positive or negative?
Are you consuming clean healthy foods or unhealthy foods in excess?
You’re in a better mindset to say no to the unhealthy choices.
This could also refer to other distractions and clutter like – television, books, music, electronics. Like food, we tend to over indulge and consume too much of these things in our lives as well.
Minimalism gives you the control to take a step back and decide if you want to bring these items into your space day after day.
Gives you time to do what you like
One of the biggest forms of resistance I hear people say is “I don’t have time” or “If only I had the time, I would …” I used to be one of these people too – so I understand where they are coming from.
Before I learned about minimalism, I used to say yes to too many requests. My passion is helping people – so when someone asked for help, I’d jump at the chance without thinking it through. The problem is soon I felt stressed, unhappy and couldn’t breath. The clutter of events and to-do lists overwhelmed me and I lost my vibrancy. I wasn’t doing any of the things I truly wanted to do.
When we say yes to too many things, we begin to feel resentment. We resent the people we’re helping, resent why we’re a part of it, and we lose motivation. We end up doing a half ass job, or end up not being 100% present and the result is a nasty guilty feeling.
A few years ago, I made a list of 5 areas of my life I was going to focus on. I made a promise to myself if anyone asked me to do something outside of these 5 areas – I was going to say no without guilt. If the request was inside these 5 areas – then they aligned with my values and goals and I’d consider.
This has been a game changer for me. It’s almost like this rule of thumb has given me control to say no. Saying no to commitments that don’t align with my goals has decluttered my calendar.
I now have time to do the things I enjoy doing – and spending time with the people I love and being 100% present.
How Does Minimalism Gives You Control
You can wrap all this up in a simple message.
Minimalism helps you get out of the rat-race of life. I’ve written about the rat-race and how much of our culture is stuck in this mindset.
We work over half of our lives, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have. The result is a huge debt, lots of stress, failed marriages and lonely people.
At the end of the day, we fill our homes and our calendars with things we don’t enjoy. And, we miss out on the main reason why we are here on earth.
It certainly isn’t to make money to pay the bills. It’s to connect with people and make a difference in the world.
Will minimalism help lower stress and anxiety? Yes, minimalism can help lower stress and anxiety. One of the main causes of anxiety is the feeling of a lack of control in ones life. Not being able to control their surroundings. Minimalism can give your control back. As you take steps and declutter each area of your life – you learn what’s important. You learn the difference between wants and needs. And, you learn how to protect your time. This newly discovered control can have huge impact on stress and anxiety in a positive way.