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I’m someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. That means positive mental health is really important to me, and I do everything in my power to keep my life in support of this. One of the reasons I decided to get started with minimalism in the first place is after discovering just how much minimalism can help your mental health. Here’s some of the ways it’s been good for me.
How Minimalism Can Help Your Mental Health
One of my favourite shows to watch is Hoarders. It’s not that I judge the people on the show, but they definitely do inspire my continued war against clutter. What I do understand, though, is that hoarding is a mental illness. It’s a form of anxiety disorder, characterized by hanging onto things that cause detriment to their lives. For them, the stuff is causing problems, but the anxiety when it comes to getting rid of it so painful that they’re unable to get rid of anything.
Most people who are interested in minimalism aren’t severe hoarders, but they probably got interested in this lifestyle because they have too much stuff. I know that’s what happened with me. It’s also pretty common to have a few hoarding tendencies; maybe you collect too much of something, or can’t throw away things that have value or are useful.
As our modern society encourages us to tie more and more emotion to stuff, and in turn spend our time (in the form of money) on it, it’s easy to assign extra value to things that don’t actually bring joy in our lives.
Too much stuff causes anxiety
When you’re always surrounded, it can feel like the walls are closing in. Sometimes they literally are, depending on how much stuff you have! Clutter affects our brains negatively, and causes us to feel anxious when it’s around. While hoarders find security in their hoard, most people find a mess causes agitation.
If you already suffer from anxiety, a messy environment can make you feel even worse. It’s harder for your brain to shut off because of all the stimulation, and everywhere you look is something you need to take care of. It’s overwhelming. As you declutter your physical space, you’ll most likely find that your anxiety lessons; it’s one less thing to worry about.
Messy environments make us sad
Just like with anxiety, being in a mess also makes depression or even just feeling down a lot more common. You might feel embarrassed by the mess, which causes you to stop inviting people over. Or maybe you’re upset with yourself for letting things get so bad, but don’t know how to stop feeling bad about it in order to fix it.
I struggle with perfectionism, so for me it’s challenging to look around and see a messy, cluttered home. I feel like a failure.
Most brains like order
By getting rid of the clutter and becoming more of a minimalist you can make your mind very happy. As you look around your home there won’t be piles of clutter, but instead clean surfaces. Since the brain likes order, you’ll feel happier. Instead of causing you stress, your home will have a calming effect.
This is really important because our homes are meant to be our sanctuaries. If you’re always stressed by the stuff in your house, you won’t feel relaxed in the one place that you’re meant to be safe.
Objects burden us
As you declutter, you’ll probably find yourself feeling more free. Almost lighter. Getting rid of things allows us to be unburdened by our stuff. This frees up mental and physical room, and makes space for more important things.
Now you won’t be worrying about where you’re going to put things. There’s no more burden of trying to clean up so much stuff. Surfaces are cleared for family meals in the dining room. Papers are organized so you can actually find what you’re looking for. So much less stress!
Less money spent makes life easier
As my savings grow thanks to minimalism, I’m finding that it’s actually done wonders for my emotional well being. Having that security net is a huge stress relief. As emergencies arise, I don’t have to face them with nearly as much stress as I would have. That way I can focus on the problem at hand, and not worry about money.
Stopping the shopping habit will improve your finances. How your spend that money is up to you, just make sure it’s on things that actually improve your well being!
What decluttering has done for my mental health
A lot of things have improved since I embraced minimalism. While it’s not a magic cure all for every issue, it definitely takes some of the challenges out of my life so I can better deal with problems with they come up.
- Less time cleaning means more time doing things I enjoy, or that help my mental health
- I am able to let people come over last minute because my house is usually clean
- There isn’t as much stuff to worry about
- Clean spaces make me feel relaxed
- I’m saving money that I would have spent shopping, which makes me feel more secure