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How Minimalism Enhances Mental Health: Declutter Your Mind for Wellness

by DecorMatters|Jun 18, 2024

Many people are drawn to a minimalistic life and it’s not hard to understand why. Minimalism can have many positive effects on your life, mental wellness, and health. 

In this article we will be discussing the upsides of minimalism and learning how decluttering the mind can have profound psychological benefits. 

Let’s get started.

What is Minimalism?

scandinavian minimalist living room design

Scandinavian Interior Academy

Minimalist interior design is defined differently by different people. Some describe minimalism as a rejection of all material things and a turning away from consumerist culture. Others describe it as a mindset of thoughtfulness around purchasing decisions and a focus on simplifying your way of life.

However, we think Break the Twitch defined it best when they said, “Minimalism is defined as a design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. [...] It has become representative of a lifestyle that aims to remove clutter from all facets of life. [...] We define minimalism as a lifestyle practice focused on minimizing distractions that keep you from doing what matters to you.”

By focusing on the changes you can make in your life, you can create a simplified way of living that benefits your mental clarity. What’s more, by decluttering your home and focusing on simplifying your space, you can create a positive home interior that supports a positive mindset.

Let’s discuss the mental health benefits of minimalism and how this practice could change your life for the better.

Minimalism and Mental Health: The Benefits

modern decluttered living room for mental health

Sandra Weingort

The goal of minimalism is to remove unnecessary things from your life thereby freeing you from physical constraints and removing your mental load. 

When you practice minimalism you physically remove clutter from your life. This in turn dissolves your mental load and diverts the energy you spent worrying about things that don’t matter to what’s more important to you. 

Let’s take a look at the mental health benefits associated with minimalism and discuss why decluttering your life can benefit your wellbeing.

Reduced Feelings of Anxiety

Reduce Stress through Minimalism

Norm Architects

Did you know that a messy and cluttered home can greatly affect your feelings of anxiety? This is because there is a link in the body between the cause of anxiety (a cluttered home, in this instance) and the levels of cortisol in your body (the primary stress hormone). When your cortisol levels are raised, due to a stressful situation such as a cluttered home, this leads to spiked feelings of anxiety. 

According to Olivia Marcellino, VP of Research at Recovery.com, “Research shows that anxiety and sensory sensitivity are related. People who are more sensitive to sensory input may have higher levels of anxiety than others. Each of us has our own breaking point when our nervous system becomes overstimulated. When surroundings are too bright, too loud, or too intense in other ways, everyday environments can get overwhelming.” 

Minimalism promotes lower anxiety and stress levels for those who find clutter to be overwhelming. This helps to keep your cortisol levels at a healthier, manageable level and reduces problems such as anxiety and the health symptoms that often come with it such as, an upset stomach, excessive sweating, shaking, social anxiety, and more.

Improved Focus and Productivity

Decluttering Kitchen for Better Mental Health

Lara Lucas

A messy and cluttered space can have a hugely negative impact on your mental wellbeing, contributing to symptoms of anxiety and depression and making it extremely difficult to focus and be productive.

According to The New York Times, “a messy home can also contribute to feelings of overwhelm, stress and shame, making you feel worse than you already do. [...] Nearly everyone has a junk drawer or two in their home, but these piles of clutter tend to be more ubiquitous for people who struggle with executive functioning. [...] It’s almost like decision fatigue all the time. ‘I can’t decide what to do with it, so I’m just not going to do anything with it.’” 

Practicing minimalism leads to improved focus and productivity. It helps you eliminate clutter and distractions from your life, therefore minimizing the likelihood of overwhelm. This has the added benefit of making it easier to concentrate and focus on the things that are important to you.

Reduced Feelings of Loneliness

Mental Health Benefits of Minimalist Living Room

Monika

Have you ever heard of the concept of standing in a crowded room but feeling utterly alone? We’ve probably all felt this way at one point or another. According to Mental Health America the reason for this is that “humans have a need to feel connected to other people. Not one of us can meet all of our needs on our own. Loneliness is our brain’s way of motivating us to reach out and build up our support system. When we feel lonely, we naturally want to surround ourselves with other people.”

In today’s society, your wealth and general success as an adult is often connected to the amount of material possessions you have. This can cause us to focus on the wrong things. And for many people, material possessions can have an impact on their sense of self-worth as they compare what they have (and most importantly, what they don’t have) against those around them.

Minimalism removes this need for material gain and focuses instead on investing that time and energy into the relationships in your life. From family members to friends and colleagues, what we really want is to be connected with the people around us. 

Minimalism helps to redirect your attention from the constant pursuit of material possessions to the nurturing of healthy relationships in your life. This helps you feel less lonely and more fulfilled and happy as a human being.

A Clearer Head

Minimalism and Mental Health

Amber Lewis

When you are surrounded by clutter, your mind can feel full and overwhelmed. There is so much around you that you don’t know where to start and you’re feeling stressed as a result. 

Minimalism encourages you to give away some of your physical possessions so you have less stuff taking up your space. You can donate old clothes, get rid of books you’re not reading, and clear out all that unused tupperware from your kitchen cabinets (as a starting point). Decluttering in this way will give you more freedom in your space and therefore more freedom in your choices.

So, rather than feeling overwhelmed and stressed all the time, you can have a clutter-free space that you enjoy spending time in.

A Sense of Wellbeing

Minimalism for Anxiety Relief

Mel

Minimalism encourages you to simplify your life and practice mindfulness. In doing so, you create a more tranquil and simple way of living. You nurture a home environment that is free from excessive material possessions and clear of clutter. This allows you to make room for the important things (reading with your kids, pursuing your hobbies, spending time with loved ones) and having the space to do so. 

The National Institutes of Health defines wellbeing as “a condition of flourishing that includes health, happiness and prosperity.” They went on to explain that a link has been found “between materialistic ideals and diminished wellbeing, as well as heightened unpleasant emotions. This could be due to the fact that focusing on material possessions diverts our attention away from other aspects of life that bring us joy.” 

Practicing minimalism is an opportunity to embrace the simplicity of daily life. It helps you feel more present in the moment and nurtures a greater sense of well-being in you overall as a person. For more decluttering tips, read our Spring Cleaning guide.

Final Words

As you can see, there are numerous psychological benefits to practicing minimalism in your everyday life. If you struggle with your mental health, it’s worth considering the benefits of decluttering your surroundings so that you can focus on your well-being and lead a simpler life.

Start decluttering your space today with the DecorMatters app! Whether you want to start small with a single room or go big by redesigning your entire home, our app offers the perfect tools and inspiration to help you along your journey. Download the DecorMatters app now and take the first step towards creating your dream minimalist space!

Want to visualize real furniture in your room?Design Now

This blog was written exclusively for DecorMatters by interior design specialist Kelly Edwards.

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