What comes to you when you think of a minimalist lifestyle? If you are thinking that it means you have to wear all white, shave your head, and meditate all day, you are not alone. I first stumbled across minimalism a few years ago when I saw a Pinterest post raving about it. Those were my exact thoughts. It did not take long at all for me to realize that is not at all what a minimalist lifestyle is. Rather, minimalism just means de-cluttering various areas of your life to be liberated from the sea of chaos and stress that so easily consumes an unorganized life. Since college and stress go hand in hand, my interest was immediately sparked.
After researching more about how to get started, I made the decision to start living minimally and I have not looked back since. You can minimize virtually any area of your life including your wardrobe, food, music, friends, and social media accounts. Minimalism can free you from stress, guilt, and overwhelm, and that is exactly what it has done in my life. Here are six ways minimalism has changed my life, and how it will change yours too.
1) You will be in a better mood
As part of my minimalist lifestyle, I made the choice to limit the people I surround myself with. When you channel all your energy into maintaining flourishing relationships with the people in your life that truly matter, you will feel better about them. An easy place to start is online. Who you follow on social media affects you more than you may realize, which is why it is important to be intentional in who you follow. Katherine Rosman of New York Times showcased Maggie Cassidy, an employee at a nonprofit in Chicago, who articulated the importance of unfollowing. Cassidy said, “Unfollowing is the best. I think that social media is so pervasive in our everyday life that it can be easy to forget that it is entirely optional. You can get into a cycle of being irritated and not remember that you don’t have to participate.”
2) Getting ready in the morning becomes a breeze
By purging my closet of clutter to make picking outfits easier and reducing my morning makeup routine to only the products I actually need, I have saved so much time in the morning. If you are not convinced you would enjoy paring down your precious belongings, maybe this will spark your interest: more sleep. That’s right, cutting down to only essentials in the morning means you can indulge yourself and hit snooze a few extra times without any added guilt.
3) Grades improve
In 2001, The Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published a study revealing that clutter restricts the ability to focus. Clutter distracts your brain and makes it harder to process new information. This explains the common phenomenon of why it is easier to fall asleep in a clean room. Your brain operates best when there are no distractions present, so if your grades are struggling and you cannot figure out why, the problem could be a cluttered work space. An easy starting place is on your computer, phone, and desk: delete or throw away all unnecessary documents, apps, and papers. By organizing your school work and getting rid of unnecessary clutter, you will find it much easier to stay focused on school work. Your grades will thank you.