“In overwhelming anxiety, she found overwhelming grace.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
For so many people, anxiety is like a dark cloud. Following you around, from your best days to your worst days. Lurking around the corner, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice.
If I am completely honest, I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t battling anxiety. From when I was in elementary school to an adult, I have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks. And let me tell you, it has been exhausting.
When I first found minimalism and decluttering, I was desperate. Desperate to find something that would help me finally calm my anxiety. I didn’t know if minimalism would make a difference but I figured if I didn’t try, I would never know.
Through the process of decluttering my home, letting go of things that don’t add to my life and embracing minimalism, I have felt lighter than I have in years. More at peace. Calmer.
Now, it would be completely irresponsible of me to say that minimalism and decluttering will take away your anxiety. Or that this is a cure. Anxiety is something that is very real and many, many people suffer from anxiety everyday. There are some days where I wake up and already have that heavy feeling on my chest.
But, those days are a lot less now.
Minimalism, has changed me. It has changed my life and it has helped me experience more good days than bad. If you are like me, and find yourself grasping at straws for a way to calm your anxiety, I want to share with you a few ways minimalism and decluttering can help.
Minimalism helps you clear your mind.
There have been so many studies done that have shown that clutter literally causes anxiety. When you look around your home and see stuff everywhere, your mind begins to go on overdrive. When your mind is cluttered, so are your emotions and you will have a harder time relaxing. This, in turn, causes feelings of anxiety.
The less “stuff” you have around you, the more you are able to clear your mind. As you clear your mind, you will begin to see a decrease in your anxiety.
Minimalism will give you gratitude.
Through the journey of minimalism, you are looking at the things that you own and only holding on what brings you joy or adds something to your life. You are deep diving into your surroundings and taking the focus off of material possessions. One of the amazing side effects of this practice is gratitude.
Gratitude for the things that you DO have. Gratitude for the little things in life like the sunshine, a warm breeze or time spent with loved ones. Gratitude for this beautiful life. And with that gratitude comes a renewed mindset and a feeling of contentment. This will reduce your anxiety!
Minimalism allows you to relax more.
Quite simply, the less you have = the less you need to do.
The less you need to clean and pick up. The less you need to straighten and organize. And more time to relax. More time to spend laughing and playing. More time to read a good book or meditate. Practicing mindfulness and slowing down are amazing ways to reduce anxiety and with minimalism, you will have more time to do these things.
Minimalism does not keep up with the Joneses.
Have you ever heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy?” It is one of my favorite sayings and something I remind myself on an almost daily basis.
In the world that we live in, it is so easy to feel like we have to keep up with the trends, be able to afford to put our kids in activities and buy that expensive house. And when you can’t do those things, you can start to feel anxious and worthless. Minimalism does not compare. Minimalism says that what you own, does not define you. Stop feeling like you need to keep up and then feeling less than if you can’t. Realize that who you are, is more important than what you own.
Minimalism reduces spending & financial stress.
If there is one thing that can bring on anxiety, it is money and finances. But, minimalism will help reduce that stress.
No, minimalism will not give you more money. Minimalism will reduce spending, has helped many people get out of debt and will help you save money. When you are able to take the priority off of things and don’t go shopping because you are bored or spend what you don’t have on things you don’t need/want, you will see such an increase in the money you have in your pocket.
I can’t even tell you the difference when my husband and I sat down and added up just what we had spent in one month on eating out and going out all the time to when we added it up after deciding to embrace minimalism. Our paychecks didn’t increase but we have been able to start paying off our debt! So much of your financial stress and anxiety will go away when you cut your spending with minimalism.
Minimalism will help you be more intentional and present in the moment.
For me, anxiety has always been a vicious cycle. Over the years, it has morphed into being anxious about being anxious. I am so scared of the anxiety that I am unable to be in the present and am always thinking of what will happen tomorrow.
Minimalism has completely changed that. With so many of the distractions and things that don’t bring me joy gone from my life, I have learned to be intentional with my time and live in the present moment.
When you are able to do that, and stop worrying about tomorrow or next week, you will see such a decrease in your anxiety. You will begin to see the beauty in the moment you are in and that, will tell anxiety to hit the road!