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How Practicing Minimalism Helps Me Manage Anxiety


I’ve had severe anxiety since childhood. Over the years I have become pretty good at pinpointing my triggers and managing the feelings that followed. However, after I had my son, I found myself reeling. My anxiety was out of control. I was having multiple panic attacks daily and nothing I was doing was helping.

In my quest to heal myself I came across minimalism. I started donating, paring down clothes, and I got rid of old high school yearbooks. Sure, it may have started out as a little spring cleaning, but it felt really good! I kept going. Not only was I healing my mind, but my home was also more organized, there was less mess, and everything had a place. It was like I unloaded a heavy burden from my brain and body.

As of late, many of us have spent most of our time isolated at home for the last couple of months. For some, the prospect of staying at home all hours of the day, all days of the week, is terrifying and stress-inducing. I understand your struggle. I work from home during normal times. One thing I can tell you for sure — if you do not love your space, your experience will be less than satisfying and sometimes downright unbearable.

I challenge you to give minimalism a chance.

Start with one room and see how it feels, especially if you suffer from anxiety. Take a moment to clear out unwanted and unneeded items so you have space where you feel safe, cozy, and inspired. It may offer you a clean slate to jump-start your creative juices or even heal your soul, connecting you to what really matters.

Why you should give minimalism a chance

Clutter induces anxiety by overloading your senses. There is just too much to look at and process. To me, everything has a story. Each time I look at something, that story enters my mind. Exhausting, right? It’s like multitasking — your attention becomes scattered, mentally exhausting you. Don’t get me started on closets. I despise searching a cluttered closet for an outfit.

Does it serve a purpose? Keep what you love. Surround yourself with what you love. Do you keep things just because a family member gave them to you? Do you keep that guitar because you think you’ll finally pick it up one day? Let me ask you a question based on that last item. Input one item you were hoping to pick up but haven’t. Doesn’t looking at that item give you a pang in your stomach because you haven’t made it a priority yet? You might even feel a little bit of guilt. Get rid of it and save yourself from adding one more thing to your already long list of things to do. Instead, put your focus on what really means most to you. Put in your all

More to clean. Oh, boy, do I hate dust. Dust one day and it is back the next. The same could be said about laundry. Paring down your articles of clothing not only spares the senses overload but it also saves the energy you put into the many loads of laundry and folding clothes.

Less functional space. My grandmother had an entire room we weren’t supposed to go in. Not just the kids, though. No one went into that room unless we were taking special holiday photos or we snuck in. I don’t get it. At least turn it into a library, folks. There is one thing I would never declutter — my stash of books, and that is okay because it is okay to keep items that bring you joy.

“Things” are expensive. Oh, all the things. They sure do add up. Add up the price of everything in your current room. When was the last time you admired those items? When was the last time you used those fancy dishes? When was the last time you wore that leather jacket? How many price tags are still on outfits in your closet?


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