Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Ellen Christian
If you’ve heard that minimalism helps with stress, I’m finding that it’s true. It seems like I’ve been stressed and anxious for the majority of my adult life.
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Minimalism Helps With Stress
It may just be part of my personality because I cannot remember a time when it wasn’t a problem. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize that it’s becoming a problem until my husband points it out.
For the longest time, I found that my stress level increased daily. I always seemed to have more and more things that I needed to do, which in turn caused me to worry about whether they would get done correctly or on time or at all.
A year or so ago, I came upon a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Since clutter is something I have always struggled with, I picked up a copy.
Fewer Visual Reminders
While The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn’t necessarily about minimalism, it is about decluttering and only keeping things that bring you joy. As I started to get rid of things following this method, I noticed that I was less anxious about certain things.
There wasn’t a pile of craft supplies reminding me I should finish the eight craft projects I started. Indeed, I was a failure never to complete the projects I started. I wasn’t a good enough crafter.
I found minimalism helps with stress because less clutter means fewer visual reminders of what “has to be done.”
Less Housework to Do
Like many women, I’m in charge of the cleaning. It isn’t that my husband doesn’t help, it’s just that he doesn’t notice it the way I do. When my home was cluttered, I found myself moving boxes, piles of paper, and stacks of projects to vacuum or dust.
There were too many pieces of furniture to move around, and every flat surface on my bookcase and entertainment center was stacked full of stuff that had to be moved and dusted.
Too many clothes meant I could put off laundry for a long time before I had to do it. After decluttering, I found that having fewer things meant that I had less housework to do.
Check out these must have kitchen essentials for a minimalist kitchen.
More Free Time
If you’re one of those people who find themselves working extra hours to pay for storage or for someone to help with housework or yard work, you may find that minimalism allows you to downsize.
Reducing your belongings may mean that instead of a 3400 square foot home you only need a 1500 square foot home. Or instead of paying someone to come in every week to clean, you can handle it yourself or have them come every other week.
Even better, you may find you need to work fewer hours at a stressful job when your financial obligations are fewer. Reducing my belongings and responsibilities meant I had more free time than before.
You Learn Who You Are
Once I identified the belongings that brought me joy, I could better see what made me happy. I found that I was holding onto many things because I should do them or should have them, not because I loved them.
There was that photography book I should read to take better photos. I had a massive stack of craft supplies and tools because I should enjoy crafting. There were piles of magazines and books I should have read because I had bought them and hadn’t read them yet.
I didn’t WANT to do any of these things, but I should, right? After evaluating what made me happy, I learned that I didn’t have to do something that I didn’t want to, even if I had invested time or money.
It’s OK to get rid of the book you haven’t read if you don’t want it. It’s OK to pass on those pants you thought would look great on you but didn’t.
Minimalism isn’t the key for everyone or everything, and I’m not trying to say that life will be perfect and stress-free with fewer belongings. But, it has worked wonders for me.
Now and then, I find myself getting stressed again and I stop and think about why. Often, I find it’s because I’ve brought something back into my life that doesn’t need to be here.
It’s a struggle and ongoing, but minimalism has helped in ways I didn’t think it could. Learn more about eco-minimalism.
Do you find that minimalism helps with stress in your life?
Ellen is a busy mom of a 24-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter. She owns six blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.