A Minimalist’s Approach to Life

Hello Guys and Gals! 😊 It’s great to have you here!

I have been away for a while with tech issues but I’ve been anxiously waiting to start posting again.

You have waited long enough so let’s get started…

“Minimalism is not about having less, it’s about making room for what matters”

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a way of life promoting a life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions. The core of minimalism is to focus on intentionality and the reduction of things that distract us from that.

I have been transitioning towards a minimalist lifestyle for a few months now and it has been a positive and transformational part of my journey so far so, I would like to share as much as I can with you in the hope you’ll get something great out of this too.

To give you an idea of the journey so far, below is a little background of my life pre-minimalism.

Guys and Gals – I loved shoes, particularly trainers and had them in every colour you could think of. I bought clothes to match each season of the year. I loved tech to the point where I bought stuff just because it sounded cool. I was constantly online looking for the next thing to buy. The truth is that I got a buzz from it. It really felt good. Bizarrely though I also felt extremely guilty for spending so much money when I knew I did not need the things I was buying but that voice in your head keeps saying “You deserve it. What is the point of working so hard if you can’t buy things that make you happy right?”

Hmmm… I am not so sure I agree with that now. The truth is that owning loads of stuff clutters my space and brain and does not make me happy long term. We live in an extremely consumerist society so, it can be challenging to avoid all the bright coloured billboards, the adverts and offers enticing you to buy the latest fashion or gadgets. Some of the things out there are awesome and it makes our lives easier but, I question whether we really need it to make us happy. Sure, we get a rush of excitement when an amazon package arrives. You rip off the tape in anticipation of that remote control robot dish washer you’ve been waiting to clean that heap of dirty dishes but before you know it, a robot chef hits the shelves and you find yourself queuing 36 hours to get yours before they sell out, only to realise that it was great for a little while and now needs to be hidden away in the loft.

Guys and Gals there is a science to that and it’s called Dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in control of the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Dopamine receptors are activated when you anticipate something exciting. It’s crazy right? These little receptors are responsible for our impulses to buy and have things. We get pleasure from it so why wouldn’t we keep doing it?

Simplicity is an important component for happiness. It is about having few desires so that you can really appreciate what you already have.

I have a bucket list and this very extensive list has a lot of things I want to experience in my lifetime like… camping in Yosemite, going to Snowdonia and even strawberry picking in the summer. Experiencing these places and activities would create memories that last a lifetime and that sounds more fulfilling to me. That is the kind of dopamine experience I want to have. Minimalism allows me to do just that.

So what does a minimalist transition look and feel like for me? I write this in present tense because I am still transitioning.

Minimalism is individual so it is perfectly fine if your journey looks different to another person’s because the things that make you happy are unique to you.

I started making very small changes. A gradual change in mindset and lifestyle is a lot easier to adjust to. Extreme changes can leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed. Minimalism does not have to be extreme.

  1. I streamlined my everyday wear and have a couple of pairs of shoes. I spend less time trying to pick clothes out in the morning and instead, get to spend a few extra minutes enjoying breakfast before I head out for the day. I feel confident when I am out because I do not feel pressured to meet the expectations of others around me. It is liberating!!
  2. When I shop, I buy what I need not what I think I should have. This has reduced the amount of waste in our household and my shopping habits have reduced the negative impact I may have on the environment.
  3. I reassess what I have every 90 days. If I have not used or thought about it, then it goes into the charity box. Someone else probably needs it more than I do.
  4. I constantly practice gratitude. When you have more than you need, you don’t truly appreciate what you have so, the less you have the more likely you are to notice how lucky you are to have it.

Your journey may look completely different to mine and that is ok. Remember you are working on being the best version of You.

Here are some top tips to help you on your journey.

  1. Focus on what means the most to you. Ask yourself what you really want and what matters to you. There are no right answers.
  2. Make your priorities your main focus.
  3. When you say no to that expensive pair of shoes, think I’m saying Hello to financial security and bye to debt”. When you say no to buying that expensive bottle of wine/whiskey think “I get to take my best friend to that theatre production she/he has wanted to go to for years”. Mindset is key.
  4. Ask why before you buy!
  5. Spend money on experiences – the pictures and memories last a lifetime.
  6. Practice gratitude – name three things you are really grateful for each day.
  7. Always reflect on your achievements – you spent less money this week, you gave some clothes you were not wearing to charity – Celebrate it. I’m proud of you and you should be too. You are Amazing!! Don’t focus on how far you have to go but rather how far you have come.
  8. Remember change won’t happen overnight so don’t be too hard on yourself. Change takes time.

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxox

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