Mindfulness and Minimalism – Benefits Where They Intertwine

A look at the positive interaction between mindfulness and minimalism, and how practicing mindfulness can encourage a minimalist lifestyle.

Written by Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
Photos by Brett Stadelmann, Editor-in-Chief of Unsustainable

Mindfulness is a crucial skill that might transform the world. It invites people to pause, attentively tune into and reflect on their experiences instead of rushing through life on autopilot. This skill has many mental health benefits and fosters a greater appreciation of each passing moment. Practicing it encourages gratitude, and those who find satisfaction in what they have enjoy far greater happiness. Although mindfulness and minimalism may not stem from the same roots, they create similar effects.

Minimalism reduces physical and mental clutter, making more time and space for what matters most. It liberates you to experience the gift of being alive fully and treads more lightly on the planet. Here’s how mindfulness can help you live minimally.

How Mindfulness and Minimalism Intertwine

Marie Kondo became famous in the decluttering world for her signature question, “Does it spark joy?” Her minimalist approach focuses on cultivating greater happiness in life by letting go of everything that weighs you down physically, mentally or spiritually.

Mindfulness and minimalism intertwine when you contemplate what you bring into your world. You pause, taking a moment to explore how it may affect you long-term and what feelings it evokes instead of acting on a momentary impulse. You might see a pair of shoes in a store that spark joy for a moment, but when you reflect further, you’ll realize that purchase is not worth the money, closet space or environmental impact of buying something you don’t need.

Using Mindfulness to Shift Your Mindset

The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to draw your awareness to the moment-to-moment feelings, emotions, thoughts, sensations and perception of the environment around you. If you constantly feel overwhelmed by busy life and material goods, practicing mindfulness can shift your mindset to focus on what’s really important in life.

To start this mental shift, try incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life. Meditation can decrease anxiety and show you the importance of living in the present. You can become a more active architect in your life, pausing before making decisions to consider which course best resonates with your soul. In a minimalist lifestyle, that means reflecting before making a purchase and learning to appreciate what you already have.

Mindfulness and Minimalism: In a misty forest, looking up at the tree canopy

The Many Benefits of Mindful, Minimalist Living

Mindful, minimalist living has many benefits that enrich your life and delight your spirit.

1. Improve Your Most Meaningful Relationships

Embracing mindful minimalism means making more time to nurture the relationships that mean the most to you. Many people find themselves spending more time with material items than with their loved ones. Ask yourself if you really need to buy the latest video game, or if your time would be better spent with your family or friends.

Even little mindful mindset shifts can make a big difference. Are you cleaning out your closet while adopting a minimalist lifestyle? Before you donate, offer to do a clothing swap with friends so you can put those clothes directly into someone else’s wardrobe. You’ll liberate closet clutter while creating the perfect excuse to meet up with friends–and you’ll save your items from going to a landfill if they don’t sell at the thrift store.

2. Find Greater Joy in Daily Existence

It’s easy to lose sight of what matters amid the endless scramble to earn enough to pay bills and manage daily realities like needing to eat. However, the daily routines you take for granted can become your greatest source of joy.

For example, does your family all go separate ways when you get home from school and work? Instead, implement weekly traditions that get everyone together. Go for an evening walk or have everyone help out with preparing dinner. Instead of distracting your kids with the latest toys or tech, you can create mindful moments that aren’t based on material items.

3. Cultivate Self-Compassion and Empathy

Everyone is human and makes mistakes, but mindful, minimalist living gives time and space to learn from them. It invites you to cultivate awareness of your motivations and recognize your shared humanity in doing so. The same forces that drive you to make incorrect choices sometimes happen to everyone, helping you treat the people around you with greater compassion and grace.

You can also extend that emotion to yourself. While shame is a universal emotion with a useful purpose — it guides you, telling you when an action is wrong — it can also become toxic. Noticing how you respond to shame without judgment can help you take a more humble approach, admitting your shortcomings, apologizing when necessary and extending yourself the same olive branch of forgiveness you’d offer anyone with a remorseful heart.

Mindfulness and Minimalism: In a misty forest, looking along a boardwalk under tree ferns

4. Form a Firmer Sense of Self

Maybe your childhood environment wasn’t conducive to forming a sense of self. However, it’s your job as an adult to define who you are. Not knowing can unconsciously drive toxic behaviors as you seek external validation from having no firm internal ground to stand on. You make decisions based not upon your inner voice but on what you think will bring admiration from others.

The trouble is people can sense something amiss and constantly seeking external validation can result in ruining relationships. Mindfulness reconnects you with your sense of conscience, asking, “Who do you want to be?” and guiding your actions accordingly. When you align with your true self, others respond more favorably to you as they sense your intrinsic authenticity.

5. Tread More Kindly on Planet Earth

Finally, mindless overconsumption does no favors to Planet Earth. Everyone plays a role in keeping humanity’s only habitat clean and one way to minimize your footprint is to reduce participation in activities that contribute to global warming.

Besides, an afternoon in the community garden with your children beats an exhausting day of trudging through the shops. Luxuriate in the sunshine on your skin, the earth between your fingers and your kids’ laughter in your ears.

The Beautiful Marriage of Mindfulness and Minimalism

Mindfulness imbues each moment of your life with deeper meaning as you tune into your lived experience instead of contemplating your next big purchase. It naturally marries minimalism, inspiring you to bring only objects that spark joy into your world. Begin your mindfulness practice today to lift your spirits and enjoy life fully.


Cora Gold

About the Author

Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

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