5 Ways Living Minimally Can Lead to Mental Happiness

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Image by: nuzree
By Tallulah Ray

In these modern times, there has been a pattern of materialism that each generation has been teaching its succeeding generation. Did you know that in the 1950’s the average home was a mere 983 square feet? For a regular three and a half person household, that leaves about 292 square feet per person in each house. That number has increased exponentially.

Now the average house is 2480 square feet. The modern family is only about 3 people and that leaves about 954 square feet per person. That is more per person than a whole household in the 1950’s.

We feel the need to fill that extra space with material things, which leads to more stress and problems (financially and emotionally). That’s a lot of time and money on material things.

Do you ever think of what your life would be like if we (as a society) were less materialistic? Instead of begging us for the latest gadgets and doodads, our kids would be asking for more quality time. What about us? The maintenance, the financial troubles, and the stress over these material things weigh a lot on our minds and can cause a lot of unnecessary fatigue and mental unhappiness.

#1) Less Stuff = Less Maintenance

We spent (on average) about 43.2 minutes each day shopping. That’s about 261 hours a year (or about 2 months’ worth of work). Women top that average with an astonishing 400 hours a year. That’s nearly double the amount of work time per year. If we live to be 63, that means that we’ll spend over 8 years of our life shopping.

Just think of the amount of maintenance that it takes to take care of 8 years’ worth of shopping. On average, we spend about 11 hours maintaining the things around a household.

And to think of the fact that these numbers triple when we are between the ages of 24 – 65. That’s a lot of time cleaning, fixing, laundering, managing, and caring for material items. Could you imagine what would happen if we spent that much time and energy spending quality time with our family and friends?

#2) More Money on Experiences & Less Stuff in the Attic

We spend money on a lot of gadgets, trinkets, and material things that we end up storing in the attic – never to be seen again. We will often forget about those things and then ship it off to the dump or for donation. While it is nice to donate things, just imagine what we could have done with that money instead.

Instead of saving money for that superfluous doodad, why not save the money for a vacation with your kids. You can spend quality time together, create some extraordinary memories, and meet new people. Just think of it… A 50” Vizio E-Series Smart HDTV costs about $800. That could buy a round-trip ticket to India or 16 tanks of gas for a road trip along the coast of the US.

#3) What OTHER Issues Can Be Solved By Minimalism?

Other than mental clarity, there are other things that can be simplified by incorporating minimalistic concepts into your life.

You don’t have to worry about being in debt if you aren’t spending money on superfluous and frivolous things.

You will have more time in the day to focus on what is really important to you.

You won’t be cleaning as much.

You won’t fight with your man about money anymore. Did you know that the most common cause of fights between couples is about financial issues?

Your house will feel bigger.

You will be saying “I wish I had…” less and less.

#4) The “Simple Living Movement”

Graham Hill (the founder of LifeEdited and TreeHugger) recently wrote an editorial about his journey into minimalism. He talks about how he found that his “material objects [took] up mental as well as physical space.” You can read it here if you’re interested.

The “Simple Living Movement” is more of a philosophy instead of an actual, physical movement. The focus of this movement is to live simply in order to focus on what is important to you instead of materialistic things. In order to decide whether or not you want to incorporate this movement into your life, consider these questions:

What are your values, passions, and what is most important to you in your life?

Will you be able to focus on your family without worrying about gossip and barging into other people’s affairs?

Are you comfortable being yourself?

Concentrating on the answers to these questions will help you focus on the important things in life.

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