We all want to be happy, content and peaceful in life. All our lives, we keep looking for ways and means to do that. Most of the time, it is quite a struggle, and many times not as successful as we would like it to be. But we keep trying nonetheless.
There could be several ways to get to that state. And one of them, in my opinion, could be by switching to a minimalistic way of living.
A minimalistic lifestyle, an uncluttered lifestyle, can lead to a lot of happiness and contentment in our lives. A lifestyle that enables us to weed out the unnecessary and the wasteful can, to my mind, be highly fulfilling.
But then, we need to put in some effort to get to such a state of existence. Life has to be made simpler for that, and so we need to trim all the extras. We need to ruthlessly edit and re-edit our lives till we are left with just the necessary.
A lifestyle in which we believe that ‘Less is More’ can lead to happiness, peace of mind and ultimately a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
It can help us focus on what we truly love and cherish while giving up on the fluff and the bluff.
So how do we get there?
I have identified nine ways to get to such a lifestyle. If we can cut down on the following, we can make our lives worthwhile and complete.
Material possessions: We humans tend to hoard and accumulate material possessions from homes to gadgets, clothes, cars, and many more things. We take a lot of pride in knowing that we possess a lot of such things.
But does this tendency make us happier and satisfied in life?
I don’t think so. Whether we have one car or five [unless the size of the family demands it} cannot make much of a difference to our lives. And that holds for other material possessions as well. After the initial euphoria wears off, it won’t matter anymore. We may not even look at many of those things again. They could keep lying forgotten in some part of the house.
Moreover, economics will set in; the law of diminishing marginal utility will start applying, and more things will lead to lesser utility with every addition.
And then the more we have, the more complicated our life becomes with having to take care of these things, keep them safe and secure.
So why not focus on getting a few good quality material possessions and draw a line? And before buying something, ask yourself if you really want it.
Clutter. What about things we already have, things that take up so much space in the house?
Well, there are various options. You could reuse things, or you could donate them if they are in a reusable condition. As far as giving away is concerned, I feel anything that you haven’t used in a year can easily be given away. If you haven’t used it in a year, you will never use it. So don’t hoard, declutter and be happy.
Relationships: As they say, one cannot choose family, but one can choose friends. Family, we are stuck with, but we can prevent this from happening in the case of other people. Therefore we need to be very selective about who gets to be close to us. Not everyone needs to be. Thus cut out on toxic, damaging relationships and cherish the few precious and positive ones. A relationship should allow you to grow; it should not stifle you. Acquaintances can be many, but close friends should be just a few.
Emotions: We should follow the principle of moderation where our feelings are concerned. Extreme of any emotion is never good. So whether it is intense anger or happiness or sadness, they can’t do us any good. Be balanced and see how your life changes. Being balanced teaches you never to let anything get the better of you. It would help if you ruled your emotions, not the other way around. They say too much of anything is bad, and that’s true here as well.
Expectations– We cause untold misery to ourselves by having too many expectations from people. Please don’t do that as people may not be able to live up to them not because they don’t want to [ which may also be the case with some ] but because they may not be able to. People look at things from their perspective and may not understand your viewpoint/expectations. So, therefore, go easy on those sky-high expectations. Live and let live.
Food: Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Do that, and you will have to pay for it in more ways than you can imagine. The human body needs only a certain amount of food and drink to survive. Yes, you may want to indulge at times but make that an exception rather than a rule. For good health and a long life, practice moderation. Savour the things you love for a longer time.
Prioritize your life: Do things that make you happy. Don’t always exist for others. Be there for them, care for them but care for yourself too. Don’t try to be a people pleaser; instead, please yourself. Ultimately it is about you and not about others.
Plan your day – Plan your time, plan your day to make the most of it and fit in everything in an organized way. But then don’t fill it up; also have a white space where you do nothing. You are free, your mind is free, and there is no pressure.
Practice gratitude: And always be grateful for what you have. Don’t complicate life by lamenting over what you don’t have. Derive joy from small things in life; a smile, a book, good weather, a nice cup of coffee. It could be anything at all. Let the small joys add up to make you a joyful human being. Focus on the glass being half full, and then see how your life becomes full in every way.