How a Minimalist Lifestyle Can Ease Your Anxiety and Depression

I have always known clutter has a negative effect on me. Just looking at it makes me feel anxious and crazy. When watching the show Hoarders, I swear I start to break out in hives. I can’t be the only person who starts instantly cleaning and decluttering after viewing a 30-minute episode. We all know hoarders have a “problem” yet most people are suffering from the same issues just in a less obvious form. Too often our lives become so chaotic and we consume too much that it has aided in the rise of anxiety and depression. So how can a minimalist lifestyle help? Many studies have backed up the fact that a minimalist lifestyle can ease your anxiety and depression. Keep reading and I will touch on the top points and share some practical actions you can take. 

Less stuff means fewer worries

There is no denying that we live in a world where we are constantly being visually over-stimulated. You can hardly walk down the street without seeing changing billboards, adds in every window, TV’s flashing commercials, and a smartphone in your face. All of these things can lead to major sensory overload. There is just too much going on.

Seeing ads all the time and viewing other people’s lives on social media only increase the urge people feel to buy more, own more, and have more. Then they are going home to houses that are filled with more visual clutter.

All of this stimulation is an overload for our brains, especially for those who are already more prone to anxious thoughts and depression.

Fewer things mean fewer decisions

Don’t even get me started on the number of times I used to try on 18 different outfits in one morning only to get more and more flustered with each new one. My clothes would then be left in a pile on the floor and I was late for my day.

Owning less items, whether it be clothing or not, means we have less decisions to make each day. If you have only one coffee mug to use, then you won’t spend your time fumbling through the cupboards. When you only own one jacket, then you know which one to put on in the morning.

When we already have jobs, school, relationships and other worries taking over our brain, there is no reason to over-load our worried minds with useless stress.

Owning too many things and giving ourselves too many choices only adds to our anxiety levels.

WHO WANTS TO INCREASE THEIR WORRIES OVER SOMETHING AS INSIGNIFICANT AS WHAT SHIRT TO WEAR IN THE MORNING? NO ONE. YET MOST OF US DO IT EVERY DAY.

Instead of spending your days worrying about not getting the right outfit, or not finding your coffee mug in the sea of cupboard clutter, try the minimalist approach and let it all go.

Less worries mean more awareness

When you have started living a minimalist lifestyle and created a clean space with less decisions to be made each day and fewer objects to tend to a magical thing happens. Now that you have less worries, you’re able to have more awareness.

Clearing clutter from your home will not eliminate all of your stress, anxiety or depression. What it can do is lighten the load.

When you give yourself fewer small things to worry about, you have more headspace to focus on the bigger worries that actually matter.

Less to tend to means more time

Ahh, here’s my favorite one.

When you have less stuff, you have less to clean. You have less to repair. Less to worry about. A smaller wardrobe means less laundry. Fewer dishes means less time washing dishes.

This is a huge reason why we downsized our house. I was tired of wasting time picking up toys, vacuuming, and cleaning. I wanted my time and my freedom back. Downsizing was the first step to living a minimalist lifestyle for me. It meant I would no longer be wasting my precious time on things.

What can you do with more time? Anything you want.

If you have big worries or major goals you want to work toward, take this time and do it!

More experiences boost moods

A minimalist lifestyle can help not only with clutter and time, but it can also help with finances. When you are purchasing less things, you’ll naturally have more money.

What can you do with more time, less stuff and more money? Go out. Do things. Experience life.

Taking the time and energy to have more life experiences is a great way to naturally increase your mood. Get outdoors, take in the sites. Spend time with the people who make you laugh and enhance joy in your life.

Now is the time to go out and have those experiences you’ve always thought you couldn’t have. That’s what a minimalist lifestyle is all about after all. Living purposefully and spending time on things that increase joy rather than take away from it.

Less love of things means more love of people

Because hoarding truly stems from an obsession of things, it really is a way of putting possessions before people. You may not consider yourself a hoarder, but if you do struggle with letting go of possessions there is a good chance that it is standing in the way of your relationships in some way, shape or form.

When our minds are so consumed with the desire to have the next best thing or own the latest trends, we are taking our focus away from more important areas of our lives.

Not only can our consuming thoughts be aiding in anxiety and depression, but they are also taking away time. It’s crazy that not owning something can still take away our valuable time. Yet it happens every day.

Less clutter creates a peaceful home

Have you ever watched those home makeover shows where they work extra hard to create a beautiful master bedroom for the couple? It’s because they know the importance of feeling relaxed and at ease in your own home. Clutter does not help this cause.

When we go through our day to day lives and experience stressors and events that caused us some anxiety, we should not be coming home to a house that only makes us feel worse. Home should be a haven. Our homes should be an escape from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, a lot of time clutter robs us of this opportunity.

People often believe a minimalist lifestyle is all about owning less stuff. This is a great step and absolutely part of the deal but really it’s so much more than that. It’s about creating peaceful environments, freeing up time, and focusing on things that make us feel better and happier every day.

Less clutter means less over-eating

We already know that anxiety and depression can lead to overindulging in things like food. Therefore, it would make sense that clutter and overeating go hand in hand as well.

study conducted in Australia in 2017 took 101 undergraduate students and put them in either a cluttered kitchen or a clean kitchen to see whether or not their environment would affect their eating habits. While their mindsets played a major role in whether or not they over-ate, their environment played a major role as well.

Those in the cluttered kitchen were more likely to consume more food during the study.

A separate study that was done on children (I can’t recall the information) found that children would eat more when watching television. The good news was whether it was Goldfish or grapes, the children still consumed more. The bad news is that it just goes to show that over-stimulation really does make a huge difference in how we treat our bodies.

Less clutter means more you

At the end of the day, clutter can affect your mood, your money, your time, and even your tummy. Most importantly, it affects you. Clutter can affect your everyday life, increase your anxiety and depression, and make day to day living harder to get through.

Some people think adopting a minimalist lifestyle means turning into a crazy person with no possessions. In reality, it just helps us get back to our roots. Eighty years ago depression and anxiety in adolescents were almost non-existent. I like to think that it just might be because there was less of everything. Less food, less technology, less stimulation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I would probably die without my dishwasher. Technology is amazing in so many ways especially when it helps connect us to people from around the world. Having technology allows me to write this blog and make money from anywhere in the world.

It’s when we have too much of all of it that it really becomes a problem.

So, take a step back, get back to simpler times and I promise you, you will start to find more time for yourself. Create more time to do the things you love to do. Own only things that enhance your life. Just get back to you.