Ramadan is a time for prayer, fasting and reflection. This is the season when we should fast not just physically but also mentally and take a long, hard look at how we live our lives.
Dubai is a place where the lifestyle of most residents is characterized by frenetic activity and the quest to have more things, more cars and more everything. This hectic lifestyle can have significant impact on mental health and not in a good way. Most people here might laugh at the new fad of minimalism but this is actually one trend that can have actually contribute positively to your mental health. Taking to minimalism will lead to less clutter and more money for things that should really matter like more time with your family and trips to places you have really wanted to visit for a long time.
We first need to understand what minimalism is. It is consciously deciding to have only things that we really need. If you are like most people, you would be having a stash of things that you are not using now, but you think might be useful sometime in the future. These might include clothes that are a size too small which you will wear when you lose weight, gym equipment you bought and then did not get time to use and a whole lot of similar “stuff”. Minimalism involves taking a close look at life as you live it now and deciding what is really important and what is not, whether it is things or activities and even people.
And why would minimalism help you to have better mental health? Here are a few reasons why.
Minimalism Helps you to Focus More
Minimalism translates not just into less physical clutter around, but also less mental clutter. Clutter is distracting as your brain is forced to multitask while you are trying to work. When there is less clutter, you can focus better as clutter is distracting. You will find that trying minimalism helps you to accomplish more in less time.
You Clearly Understand the Difference Between Needs and Wants
When you depend less on things to make you happy, you will find that you relish experiences more. Buying less things whether it is cars or furniture means you will have more cash to spare for experiences like going on a trip to a place you have wanted to go for ages or even to go skydiving. Memories like these last a lifetime and can give you great happiness, thus contributing positively to your mental health. So, for your next special occasion, whether it is Eid or Christmas, skip the presents and go for a trip with your loved ones to create beautiful memories. Through minimalism, you will learn to distinguish between needs and wants and will reinforce the relationships you have with your loved ones
It can help you learn about the things you need instead of the things you want, and it can help you nourish your relationships with others.
You Get Greater Peace
When you take to minimalism, you can tune out all external noise in your life. With less things around you, you have greater peace and less stress as there are less visual cues to trigger your sensory organs. Decluttering your home and office space will give you a greater sense of space, peace and help you destress. When your surroundings are congested, you feel cramped and overwhelmed leading to higher stress levels.
How do I Start?
It might not be possible to implement minimalism overnight. It would be wise to begin by being careful about what we buy and bring into our home and lives and then slowly take stock of all that we have before we begin decluttering. When you look at all the things you own, you might be shocked at how much stuff you have – stuff you might be using rarely and could possibly be more useful to someone else.
There is no prescribed extent to which you go minimalist. They key is not to become over acquisitive and overcommitted to the point where it is taking a toll on our mental health. We should have everything we need but we need to maintain a balance.
Minimalism is not just about getting rid of physical possessions but it is a mindset and you will find that as you start on this journey of minimalism, you will smile more and frown less. Ultimately, when you stop worrying about whether you have the bigger house, bigger car and do not care any more about impressing others, you will find that your life is richer, more peaceful and a whole lot happier.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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