“Less is more.” -Mies Van Der Rohe, 1886

The Power of Minimalism: Manifesting Sound Mind in the Spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month

Sylvie
5 min readMay 17, 2023
A picture of a transparent flower vase with two large leaves of a plant in the backdrop of a white background with nothing else around the vase. The crisp, white and clutter-free picture depicts minimalism.
Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

In the spirit of May being the Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s look at an atypical angle for manifesting mental clarity: Minimalism and Decluttering.

Years ago, I had a team member whose desktop was always full from corner to corner, and I’d tell her, “Your desktop looks terrible. Don’t you want to put all that in one folder?” To which she would answer, “No, I like it when it looks like this because it makes me feel busy.”

But the question is, was she busy, or was it just an illusion? A balm for her brain to make her feel important and engaged when, in fact, she wasn’t…

Often, we think that we need more to be happy: More outfits, more jewelry, and more possessions…

But do we?

Indeed, it’s difficult to think otherwise. I know minimalism may take time to make sense, or may never make sense to some.
In my case, I enjoyed picking up every other running shoe I saw.
An outfit would give me ideas of when I’d need it, so I buy it, and they’d lie lie there filling the closet and gathering dust in wait for the unforeseen opportune moment for a red carpet dress-up, a hot date, or a theme party.
Beautiful utensils made me visualize when I’d host a get-together, so I’d pile them up.
I pictured home decor in this and that corner of the house, so I’d buy them.

Then for slightly over a year, I lived off a suitcase moving from place to place, and one day it dawned on me; I’d used only a couple of outfits the whole year! I only used that one red coffee cup daily, wore that one pair of running shoes all year, used only a handful of plates and cutlery, and guess what? I was OK throughout, maybe even happier. So did I really need all that stuff I had? I didn’t!

And when I re-settled and unpacked storage, I took out only the necessary, keeping my space lean and crisp.

It’s true;
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. It feels fantastic, like there’s less dust, clutter, and baggage around you.

Since then, I only buy what I need; if I don’t, I don’t take it regardless of how good it looks and whether it’s free. Something my fitness outfits vendor doesn’t get, as he invites me every other day when he brings in a new stock of the good stuff he knows I love. But if you have enough, why acquire more?

My now spacious living room miraculously fills me with anticipation, like there’s something new coming — physical or intangible — that I’ve been locking out by occupying its space with unnecessary stuff, but now it feels welcome.

Here’s What Minimalism and Decluttering Do For You:

It Makes Room For…
For the endless possibilities the universe has to offer, just floating in the air waiting for you to tap into them or create room for them to land on,
For more of only that which matters,
For freedom, freedom from being held back by unnecessary weight,
For discoveries and mental clarity,
For there is an unexplainable feeling of “a load has just been lifted off my shoulder and there’s more breathing space here!” when you declutter.

A picture of hot air balloons floating in the air to depict freedom one finds from minimalism and the endless possibilities that the universe has to offer.
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

There is an unfathomable satisfaction with the minimal.

Minimalism Makes You Realize That…
You didn’t need all that stuff after all,
But instead, it was bogging your down.

When you declutter, your mind feels free, spacious, and less crowded.
You create space for what’s to come when you keep it minimal to only what you need. Otherwise, it may arrive and find its room occupied, or you may not even have the mental clarity to see or work toward it.

Saves Money!
No unnecessary or excessive expenditure.

It Makes You Feel Good About Yourself; when you give out stuff to create space, you help others, and there’s something fulfilling about putting a smile on someone’s face.

Time…More Time.
No more endless hours spent combing through drawers and piles cleaning; instead, you spend less periods and energy cleaning and leave sufficient reserves for the important things or self-care.

Minimalism Helps to Fight Depression.
With fewer things to worry about, fewer distractions, and reduced decision fatigue, there’s a consequent increase in energy and less mental overload; you can focus on what matters, tap into your inner self and find happiness in the simple things.

When you’re stressed, declutter; it’ll create room in your mind and boost your mood.
When you’re anxious, look around and clear out even a tiny corner of the kitchen, your work desk, or your phone’s memory; it’ll surprise you how you feel more at ease.

A picture of empty brown wodden hangers in a closet, used to depict one’s closet after decluttering.
Photo by Beng Ragon on Unsplash

Oprah agrees that decluttering makes you feel more alive, a state of being that gears you toward fulfilling your true self.

So,
Declutter and eliminate unwanted stuff one tiny bit at a time.
Otherwise, you’re not any different from Game of Thrones White Walkers, alive yet dead. But maybe you see yourself as the queen or king of the cluttered life; in that case, you indeed are, your Majesty, but you’re just the Night King of your Army of the Dead matching into a chaotic life, alive but barely breathing.

Yet, life is for the living.

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Sylvie

I see extra in the ordinary & use words to paint it; fueled by a quest for mental health. Lover of forests, fitness, nature, good food & reading & a coffee snob