In recent years, the concept of “minimalism” is increasingly recognized. People are overwhelmed by too much information, unnecessary stuff, and social interactions that are emotionally draining. To save our time, energy, and money, especially in the time of COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, a minimalist lifestyle may have the answer.
Myanmar people are quite familiar with the concept of Minimalism via Buddhist teachings. True Buddhist monks, nuns, and yogis practice minimalism for thousands of years. Minimalism means more than living with a few possessions. It is the idea that strives to find the “simplicity” and “purpose” in one’s life. In the west, minimalism surged in the 20th century as an art movement in designs, photography, architecture, etc.
In the past few decades, the priorities of the modern generation have changed. More and more people are inclined to a minimalist lifestyle. Studies show that millennials spend more money on experiences than buying stuff. They have become more aware of environmental conservation and global socio-economic inequalities. Pandemic has shaped us to be more frugal. Too much exposure to information and technology exhausted us. Such factors make us wonder what is necessary, in terms of information, stuff around us, the social ties, and the goals once we thought we wanted to achieve. The core of the minimalism can be a way of life that focuses “intentionally” on what matters.
Here are some benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.
- It saves time and energy – simply owning less requires less time to clean up. Since we own less, it takes less time to prepare when you are packing up for a trip or moving home.
- It enhances productivity – owning less saves cleaning time leading to more quality time and energy for work, hobbies, and people we care about.
- It saves money – since we buy less unnecessary stuff, more money can be saved and used purposefully.
- It helps reduce cortisol (not directly) – one study showed that clutter is associated with high cortisol; a stress hormone that causes weight gain, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, depression, and anxiety. So, decluttering the house, workplace and social ties can protect us from these conditions.
- It helps us gain a sense of control over life – since we have more time to think about our lives, routines and goals get clearer.
- It brings us happiness – because a minimalist lifestyle surrounds us with things, people, and ideas that we love and value.
Even though a minimalist lifestyle is not the tool to solve all problems in life, at least it offers us time, and physical and mental space to think. In addition, a minimalist journey is not easy as we first have to let go of everything we think we do not need. Elimination can be extremely difficult. The transition phase can be such a time-consuming and stressful period. It can be quite challenging to keep up with the minimalist routines as well. While many people suggest it is worth a try, please take one step at a time.