You already have enough
Minimalist happiness? This is really the starting place. It's not enough to just strip things bare, because clutter will eventually accumulate if you continue to acquire things. And at the root of the desire to acquire is a discontentedness with how things are now. If you're buying things you don't need, it's because you're dissatisfied in some way. You want more, not just what you have now. You want more excitement, fun, ways to make your life better. You want something cooler. Whatever the reason, you're not happy with what you have. It's a problem that can go pretty deep, but the solution doesn't have to be complicated.
Minimalist happiness: four easy steps
- Realize you already have all you really need. What are the things you truly need? Food, water, basic clothing, shelter, loved ones. Everything else is extra. You don't need the latest technology, stylish clothing, cool new shoes, a fancy car, a big house.
- Learn to stop buying non-necessities. This might sound difficult, but it's a matter of being conscious of it. One great method is to start a 30-day list -- make it a rule that if you want to buy a non-necessity, you have to put it on this list (with the date it was added) and you can't buy it for at least 30 days. If you still want it after 30 days, you can buy it. This usually works, because the urge to buy dissipates. Always ask before buying: Is this
an absolute necessity?
- Learn to be happy by doing, not owning. We can be happy with just the true necessities, if we learn that owning things, having things, does not make us happy. Instead, doing things can make us happy -- talking with a friend, taking a walk with a loved one, cooking, creating, singing, running, working on something exciting. If you can focus on doing things that make you happy, you'll have less of a need for stuff.
- Learn the concept of Enough. This is the idea that we don't always need more -- that once we reach a certain point, we have enough. The key is to learn to recognize when that is. Often we don't realize we have enough, and are caught up in the cycle of
Having more breeds wanting more. It's an endless cycle of more, an addiction to acquiring and owning. We need to learn when enough is enough, and be happy with what we have. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, but most importantly it takes a consciousness of all of this -- of necessities vs. wants, of more vs. enough, of being happy by doing not owning. Over time, this consciousness will result in a contentedness with what we already have, which is a true foundation for a minimalist life
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