This weekend I watched the Netflix documentary entitled Minimalism, which dives into the lives of individuals who have taken the bold move of stepping away from the “consumerist culture” that many of us are influenced by. Although I am not likely to get rid of all of my belongings or stop shopping, I did feel inspired to examine the clutter in my life.
This documentary touches on two types of clutter, the physical and the mental. For me, these two realms are very much connected, as a cluttered physical environment can lead to feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. Conversely, a chaotic mental state can start to impact our functioning and control over our physical space.
Even without the extreme examples of individuals who abandon all nonessential belongings, there is something to be said for living a life of less, and appreciating what we have rather than the constant pursuit for more to fill a sense of unsatiated happiness. However, there is also the idea that having a clean physical environment is not enough, and that we need to learn to declutter our minds. This can be fostered through meditation and learning to not hold tightly onto all thoughts, especially ones that are not helpful. By mindfully choosing the thoughts we would like to hold onto, we can learn to keep our mental space more clear and ready to take on our day.
During a time in the world when our lives and jobs have been simplified in some ways and limited in others, this concept of minimalism and finding gratitude for what we have seems even more relevant. Thus, it might be a good time to take the old saying “spring cleaning” and apply it in a new way. This might mean appreciating the quiet and slower pace of our new routines, or appreciating the quality time that we have with those we live with. You can start with the physical or you can begin with the mental arena, all that matters is that you start somewhere and see how it impacts you.
Whether we like it or not appreciating minimalism may be a key theme in making it through these quarantined times with meaning.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.