Having a sense of gratitude for life is truly transformable. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I kept a gratitude journal for an entire year & wrote in it almost daily. And not to be dramatic, but it seriously changed my life. If you are currently in a place in your life where you’re feeling kind of stuck or constantly seeing the worst in most situations, maybe you need to head to the store & pick up a journal & pen & start writing down what you are grateful for.
I personally love spending time with myself & my thoughts & just reflect on where I’ve been, where I’m going & where I want to be. But sometimes when you are keeping those thoughts floating in your mind, your thoughts can become blurred & jumbled together. I find when I take the time to write my thoughts & feelings down on paper, those ideas become more clarified. Have you ever had those moments where you are so overwhelmed that you can’t get your mind off said situation? Maybe if you sat & wrote them down on paper, you’ll release them from your prisoned mind & perhaps your vision or goals will become more clear.
When You Focus on The Good The Good Gets Better
Like magic almost, if you focus on the positives more so than the negative, you will find yourself more at bliss. The reason I started a gratitude journal in the first place is because I was tangled up with negative situations too much, I was becoming a Debbie Downer & I wanted to get back to the person I was before I was jaded by life. Believe me, I know life’s obstacles & tribulations can change even the most bubbly of people, but I was adamant NOT to give in. And writing down even the most smallest forms of gratitude helped me get through those ruts.
Your Mental Health Benefits As Well
Not only will your mindset shift, but your mental health will benefit as well. When you become more thankful, you release the tensions & frustrations & in turn, lower stress levels, anxiety, improve your sleep & even your interpersonal relationships. No longer will you be tossing & turning about the what ifs of life. You will sleep soundly knowing you have much to be grateful for. I think when you become more aware of your emotions & what goes on in your mind, you can better articulate situations & relationships. They say communication is key & you must not forget to communicate with yourself most of all.
You Become Happier
When you show gratitude, this means you are acknowledging the good things happening in your life. By focusing on the good, you become less cynical & start having faith in your life again. Having that sheer optimism, strong relationships & connections as well as an urge for more experiences results in a much happier existence.
You Gain Self Worth
When you start taking control of your mind, your perspectives & mood…you are no longer accepting or needing validation from other people. You know yourself better than anyone else. Quit holding those judgements, falsehoods, or even critical statements that may have some truth to them. How are we supposed to better ourselves & learn from mistakes when we are bombarded by those situations forever? By writing your blessings, you automatically down the road to success & improvement. No longer see yourself as a lost cause.
Would you consider keeping a gratitude journal after reading this list of benefits?
When we go through our homes & bag up unwanted items & send them on their ways to new homes, it feels like a weight has been lifted, doesn’t it? When we scroll through our news feeds & become pickier of who we follow, it feels inspiring & uplifting, wouldn’t you say? I’ve discovered doing all those things doesn’t seem like enough though. I wish we could donate our emotions & thoughts in the same exact way we donate a few old pieces of clothing. Why does the decluttering process have to take an immense halt when it comes to our minds & mental wellbeing? I think it’s something we seriously need to consider.
Our belongings fill voids of emotions we don’t want to acknowledge.
The decluttering process can become an endless cycle of bringing things in & sending things off. There were times where I felt like I wasn’t making headway with this less is more lifestyle. I’d get rid of bags of items & a few months later find myself with closets filled to the brim once more. There is a psychological component to consumption of all forms. We crave things because we know it makes us feel better. But in reality the things we tend to crave are the unhealthy things like scrolling through social media too much or buying tons of clothing or makeup or even food. It fulfills us in the moment but gradually that high goes away. To maintain a better wellbeing, we need to crave options that fuel us in a healthier way & don’t just give us that short lived satisfaction.
During quarantine I learned the importance of getting outside. Even just opening the blinds & letting the sunlight peak through was enough. Taking walks in the neighborhood, breathing in that fresh air & just admiring the surroundings helped with my cabin fever & my overall mental health. In reality, when we are feeling closed in or not ourselves, we need to resort back to our roots of taking advantage of the Earth around us. As I was researching about this topic, I learned the concept of grounding & how we need to remember to use our senses & way of touch. Whether it’s doing some gardening or digging your feet in the sand at the beach, these actions actually benefit our mental wellbeing. I can attest to this because when we were renovating our backyard, I felt so alive. Although weeding was a lot of work & I got bit by a few bugs along the way, being outside in nature & away from technology gave me a sense of clarity.
Consume Less Media
As much as I love listening to podcasts & music during my walks, I made the habit to do these activities in silence. I think we drown our minds with sounds & voices so often we become restless when it’s silent. Even when I sleep, I’ve learned to rely on a sound machine. It’s something I’m trying to break from because in reality silence is peaceful. When I was pulling weeds in the backyard, I left my phone inside & just worked with merely the sound of the trees moving in the wind & the occasional chirp of a bird. I forgot how meditative that is. And I think we use these forms of media like binge watching a tv series or listening to music to drown out the thoughts we don’t want to acknowledge. Distractions can be healthy but if done too often, we are simply running from the problem instead of facing it.
Declutter Our Homes
This is something we know all too well. If we feel overwhelmed, we can get rid of a few things & clean our homes for some mental clarity. Although this isn’t the end all be all to feeling fulfilled, it’s still an avid step in mental minimalism. When our spaces are clear, so are our minds. On a seasonal basis, I go through our home, my social media & even personal relationships & see what I need to change. To get that boost in the right direction, sometimes it means to clean out a closet or organize the laundry room. It may seem insidental at first, but it actually trains our minds to have this less is more mindset.
Slowing down & just focusing on your breath is something so easy but also something we tend to forget. Lately, I’ve been feeling so busy & the other day I just sat in my favorite chair in my living room put on a relaxing youtube video [ shoutout to all my ASMR fans] & just meditated. I didn’t even close my eyes. I just stared into space & just completely let myself turn off my overthinking mind & just be one with this video. If someone walked in & saw me doing this they would probably think I was insane but it seriously relaxes me & sometimes even puts me to sleep. We need to learn how to balance our thoughts. We can’t let them eat away at us & cause headaches or worry. Telling yourself, “I’m setting those thoughts & emotions on the shelf at the moment & I’ll get back to them later” is the healthiest thing you can possibly do.
Find Free Activities
This might seem like an impossible task. But just like we should celebrate those small wins, we also must enjoy the simple things in life. I think we all can relate to the fact the pandemic caused us to see life with a different perspective. Some of my favorite moments are having a few people over the house & just having good & genuine conversations. Times we are getting to know one another on deeper levels is so priceless. Taking walks outside & admiring the views is something free we take for granted. I find those intricate plans & big events seem fun in the moment & are things I still enjoy, but those spontaneous times where no thought is given are ones I hold more dear. And on days I wake up with dread or sadness, I try to remember those precious & simple times. I try to find small ways I can make my day better. It doesn’t take much to maintain a sense of happiness. I think we place too much expectations where we end up feeling disappointed or let down. But if we focus on the big picture of why we are all here, I think our mental wellbeing would thank us for that.
Minimalism is far more than getting rid of a few old belongings. To get to the core of the issue, we must look inward & take care of our mental wellbeing. We must not let our minds be filled with clutter & useless information. We must not let people’s opinions or projections flood our minds & cause pointless worry. As someone who struggles with anxiety & stress, learning about mental minimalism & decluttering my mind has been the best coping mechanism. So, you CAN donate & clean up your thoughts & perspectives just as easily as any other form of clutter. It’s probably the most crucial one of all.
Resolutions are a funny thing. We set these “goals” before the start of the new year to become a better version of ourselves. And I’m all for setting goals & improving one’s self, but can someone just wake up an entirely new person? I don’t think so. I think it takes time & with a set of changes put in place. When I started on the journey of minimalism, I didn’t just wake up & say “I’m getting rid of everything I own!” It took time & reflection to get where I am today. And I’m here to let you in on some of the secrets to simplify your life this coming new year.
SET SMALLER GOALS
Instead of choosing one main goal for the entire year, why not break them down into smaller ones each month or even each day. In the past, I talk about the importance of celebrating your small victories & the way to do this is to appreciate every moment & set realistic tasks to accomplish. You’ll ultimately feel more successful & productive without feeling overwhelmed in the process.
2. DECLUTTER YOUR BELONGINGS
A clear mind begins with a tidy environment. This is the perfect time to go through your belongings & ditch whatever is not serving you. If you are unsure where to even begin in the declutter process, here are a few posts to reference:
I say this all the time, your experiences are what you leave with. I also talk about saving money & spending it on meaningful things. Experience are just that- meaningful. If you are someone who is able to travel the world (once it’s better) then go for it! Soak up all of that culture & newness. I think that’s also the best way to enhance your knowledge of the world & become less ignorant as well. There is so much more to life than your immediate bubble.
3. BE GONE OF TOXICITY
I could seriously make a blog post solely on this topic. In the new year take pride in your social circle & choose people who really have your back. Toxicity can be found in many individuals, even family. If you have people in your life who suck the life out of you & create a burden to your wellbeing, let them go. I know if that individual is a family member, it can be difficult. But I’m here to give you the green light to even walk away from them. Life is too short to spend it with soul suckers.
4. PRIORITIZE YOUR REAL LIFE. NOT YOUR DIGITAL ONE
On a personal end, deleting most social media (minus facebook) was the best decision ever. Granted, I still have a social media presence for my blog, I find that to be more business related. Even so, I make sure to take breaks from it all from time to time. I also have learned not to place such perfectionism to my overall aesthetic. The idea of themes & “brands” can overtake the mind. Stop clouding the mind with such pointless worries. If there is a social media platform you are tired of having, maybe this year is the time to get rid of it. I’ve even considered deactivating my facebook or at least seriously cleaning house of old content.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF MENTALLY & EMOTIONALLY
It’s easy to tell yourself to go on a run or eat a salad once in a while, but when was the last time you asked yourself how you were feeling? I think when it comes to living simple, you have to embrace those emotions & treat your mind with care. I preach self care very often. But the most important form of self care is letting yourself feel those emotions, reflect on them & use them in a healthy way. When I wasn’t feeling as emotionally sound, these were the times I ran to shopping for the cure. Don’t rely on external stimuli to mend your sensitive heart.
6. CREATE A ROUTINE
This especially was helpful during these uncertain times where I had to make a entirely new routine for myself. Instead of laying in bed all day, I woke up most mornings to a cup of tea & breakfast, planned a workout & pampered myself so I was ready for the rest of the day. But the important part of this routine is to slowly take in each task. We live in a world that revolves around staying busy & moving fast. Stop and smell the roses once in a while.
Once you’ve decluttered your belongings & paired everything down, why not consider owning a capsule wardrobe with a set number of pieces? I can tell you, you’ll probably still have plenty of outfits to choose from & getting dressed in the morning will be quick & easy.
8. GET ACTIVE & BE HEALTHIER
There are so many ways to transition into a healthier lifestyle. Drink more water, eat more greens, exercise for at least 20 minutes a day & just simply get moving. We live in such a sedentary world. We are on our phones & laptops more often than not. Especially being at home a lot this year, I find getting up, moving those legs & getting fresh air to be so important for our wellbeing. I don’t focus on the ideas of diets. That is a short term way of thinking. I like to consider it to be a lifestyle change because I’m more likely to stick with it. If I miss a few days or even a week, I don’t beat myself up over it. My end goal isn’t necessarily a number on the scale. It’s more so an active way of living.
9. TAP INTO YOUR CREATIVE SIDE
As human beings, we wear a multitude of hats. I don’t think any of us are just one type of person. I found myself discovering a lot of new hobbies this year. I embraced my creative side & started writing. Whatever hobby you want to try or skill you want to learn, this is the year to do it. The simplest way to grow as an individual is to learn. Read more books, learn a new language or skill. You are never too old to be a student.
10. BE PRESENT
Put down your phone & look up. There is so much more to the world then what’s on your screen. Sure, you may find all your news facts & information through the internet, but the best ways to enhance knowledge is taking a look around & listen to people speak. Start conversations, share opinions & open up your mind to new ideas. Use those senses of yours & dive deep into exploration. Life is short, so enjoy every moment. Next time you are at an event or location, try not to take any photos. I think our generation visits places all for the infamous photo op. I’ve found the most fun times were left pictureless.
11. BE MONEY SMART
Instead of buying an entirely new wardrobe, why not pay off some student loans or credit card debt. I’m no finance expert, but I find people tend to spend money like it’s growing off trees. I’d rather live more modestly & have money to see the world. Prioritize your spending habits & possibility save as much money as you can this year. Last year, I participated in a low buy & I might do the same this coming year as well.
12. STOP PUTTING UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ON YOURSELF
Sometimes when we create these goals for ourselves, we focus too much on our fantasy self. If you want to read more about this concept, click here. Your fantasy self is this unrealistic or dream like persona. It’s the personality we wished we had. It’s the skills we wish we knew. And it can even go as superficial as appearance. Many times are fantasy self is exactly what is holding us back from our true being.
13. LEAVE OTHER OPINIONS TO THE SIDE
I find a lot of my clutter results from items other people decide we need. Especially when you are young & starting out on your own, older people tend to see themselves as the experts to life. And don’t get me wrong, I still call my mom about how to properly boil & egg or folding a fitted sheet. But sometimes, adults are wrong. And as newly adults, we need to make our own mistakes & decide what is necessary & what is not.
14. RELATIONSHIPS ARE GREATER THAN THINGS
I feel like sometimes we forget people don’t really care about what we have. The most important thing to be in this world is a good human. Personality will always be greater than appearance. Nobody is going to like you more just because you own a designer purse or a pool. (Well….a pool is nice). But seriously, what matters most is how you speak to others, what you do for them & building solid relationships. For the family you have, through blood or by choice, it should be cherished as such.
15. YOU ARE ENOUGH
The biggest take away from all of this is understanding you are far more than what you own. If everything was taken away from you tomorrow, would you be proud of the person you are? You are the prize to the world. Everything else is just bonus. Never look at the things you have as tickets to be treated any better, seen as more successful & more liked. I don’t care if society has taught us otherwise. I’m here to tell you, in my mind, you are simply beautiful.
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