Minimalism isn’t the first what comes to mind when thinking about stress management. Typically, people think of reading books or taking a bath, both action which can help shortly, or if they are a step further they think of yoga, pilates, meditation or any other active relaxation method. The techniques help you to handle stress better but what they can’t do is reducing the stress coming from your environment. That’s where minimalism can step in.
In its essence minimalism is about living with less and being satisfied with it. This can be less stuff but can also be applied to relationships, think toxic people, and more. But let’s take a look first on how our body handles stress.
Alan Thrall, a weightlifter, explained it pretty visual with a bucket analogy.
Imagine we have some bucket in us, our stress bucket. And this bucket has a hole in the size of an Oreo. Now workouts, friends, work, family and all put stress in our bucket. In easy times, the stress directly runs through the hole, but when you fill our bucket much faster with a lot of stress, it will fill up pretty quickly and eventually overflow. In the fitness world, they call this overtraining; the rest might think of a burnout.
With active relaxation techniques, you can make your hole in the bucket a bit larger, and you might even be able to make the opening smaller so less stress can enter. But even with that, your stress bucket can overflow, and you feel like dead.
Unfortunately, anything can be a stressor for one; it is highly individual, and things that stress me out might be no thrill at all for you and vice versa. So, it’s important to find out what your external stressors are.
Tha’s the point where minimalism can help us. Many people are stressed by their stuff, the visual noise around us, clutter in our homes or the urge to buy new TVs, cars or whatever to impress the Jones next door.
If you reduce your external stressors, those that you have under your control, your bucket can’t be filled up that fast.
Stuff, things, belonging: You might have too much, it’s all over the house, causing visual noise, taking up to much space and you have to maintain it. And the more you value it, the more you will try to protect it.
Is an enormous stressor for our eyes. The tend to scan our surroundings all the time for threats; wandering from one thing to the next; never resting and this stresses our body. Ther could be a tiger somewhere!
See, besides the lifestyle minimalism, there’s also one in architecture and with a focus on simplicity too.
I am in a minimalist group on Facebook, and many, many guys there name one of their biggest stressors money or better their lack off aka debt. Getting anxious, am I able to pay the bills? Can I put food on the table? You name it.
Minimalism as widely used helps you to reduce the things you own thus making you more relaxed. Something people feel pretty fast when de-cluttering, and it is a significant relief for them. And many times they begin to apply the same principles to other areas of your life.
Also, with fewer things in the house, your eyes can rest. Hardcore minimalist home can be almost empty, but you don’t need to go that far. But the less you own, the more your eyes can rest.
You reduce the maintaining stress. You don’t need to take care of all your boxed, not worry where to store them.
And when you stop buying new things, you stop the stress of competing with your neighbours. You stop caring who owns the better car, nicer house and had the best vacation. It doesn’t matter to you anymore thus it can’t cause stress.
Also buying less will leave you with more money. Money you can save and invest in yourself. And if you create an emergency fund, you won’t panic when the car breaks - you got your emergency fund and can pay the bill.
Going on the minimalist way freed me from so many things and helped me enjoying life more. And it can do the same for you.
Do not overthink it or doubt if this is right for you, neither should you be scared of the zealots out there. Try it for yourself and feel the benefits.
Best is, you don’t need any resources to get started, not even a book, not even my book.
Start now and eliminate your first stressor.