The many benefits of minimalism on mental well-being

Minimalism is a trend that can be applied to almost all aspects of day to day life; decluttering your wardrobe, home, and bags can not only make your life simpler and more spacious, but can also have a great effect on your mental heath and well-being. ‘The Minimalists’ describe minimalism as ‘a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom.’
The theory behind this is that our learned behaviour of attaching sentimental value to our possessions leads to a build up, which in turn has a straining effect on our life and well being. There are many benefits to minimalism, a great one being that there is no rule book! Rather than a strict set of practices, dedication to minimalism is often described as a deliberate state of mind. Because of this, every person’s experience will differ because they will have different timelines, expectations, and goals.
By reducing the clutter and excess items in life, we decrease our stress levels and gain more mental and physical energy from our space (as well as making your dorm room insta goals).
Minimalism also goes hand in hand with modern life, sustainability and city living. Living in the city on a student budget can mean that living space is limited, so decluttering really is the obvious choice to make your home cleaner, fresher and more functional.
The decision to live with a minimalistic state of mind will also help with efforts to become greener; taking only what you need is a great philosophy to have in mind when buying clothes and food shopping (even when double-stuffed Oreos are half-price).
As a student today, it can be easy to become swept away in fast fashion, but the truth of the matter is that overindulging in the consumption of low cost, fleeting trends, feeds in to what can be a corrupt system, has a damaging effect on the environment and overcrowds your life with low quality products that you will not even want to wear in a month.
For this reason, capsule and staple wardrobes tend to be the focus of minimalist thinking in fashion. Investing in good quality, sustainable classics will give you more space, and a better wardrobe.
For most, fashion is about self expression and individuality, and so a capsule wardrobe could be seen as a boring alternative. However, a wardrobe of solid basics and staples provides a long lasting canvas for your own originality. With a staple collection, you can stay up to date by supplementing your wardrobe seasonally if you feel that is needed, but do so with a few key pieces. This will also help to prevent your future children mocking old photos of you in the impulse-buy-leopard-print-cycling shorts (no regrets, they’re comfy).
In the home, it can be difficult to get started with clearing things out because as humans we have a tendency to attach sentimental meaning to physical things which can make it hard to throw them away.
It is important to remember that a dedication to minimalism is not a blood oath to remove everything you love from your home; if it is truly precious to you and sparks joy, (à la Marie Kondo) then keep it! No rules, remember?
An unnecessary attachment to physical reminders of past memories, however, can get in the way of a happy and functional life in the present. Another positive is that by reducing the excess of your possessions, your very favourite items come to centre stage, and you gain a greater appreciation for them.
Minimalism goes hand in hand with tidiness and organisation; the mere act of reducing your possessions can spark a major change in the way you organise your life for the better. A clean, tidy living space does wonders for mentality and practicality. It makes a space easier to relax and work in, and motivates you to do these things as well.
Image: rawpixel via Pixabay

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The Student Newspaper 2016