It seems that in today’s society, we have developed this idea that More = Better. We crave more options when we go out to eat. We want twelve different varieties of salad dressings to choose from, more stuff for our homes, more clothes, more this, more that. We have fallen under this false belief that the more things in our lives and the more options we have, the better and happier we will be.
These choices and accumulation of MORE have the reverse affect though. The expansion of choices becomes overwhelming. I know that in the past, I have spent more time than I should just ordering a meal. And once I decide on an entree, I may even get the addition choice, “Soup or Salad”. And heaven forbid if I choose salad…”What dressing would you like? We have ranch, honey mustard, Italian, French, Caesar, balsamic…” My goodness, I should not have an anxiety attack over lunch! The amount of choices that bombard our daily lives can fill us with anxiety, doubt, and additional stress that we simply do not need.
The same and similar negative feelings infiltrate our lives when we incorporate this idea of “More” into our materialism. We think that the new purse or phone will make us happy, and sure, for a while, we may experience pleasure from these items, but those feelings fade as quickly as they appear, and we are left with disappointment and a longing for more. More. It is an endless cycle of negativity. Because no matter how much more we obtain, it is never enough. More is an unachievable goal.
As far as from a mental/emotional health standpoint, more does not equal better, in fact, it seems to make things worse. It makes sense that instead we should switch to the idea of LESS, or Simplicity. When we reduce the amount of options and stuff that overruns our lives, we achieve this clarity within ourselves. There is more time to focus on the important choices of life and not “do I go with white or silver for my next phone upgrade?” Simplifying my life, I find I am more productive, happier, and at peace with myself. The distraction of things (and choices) disappeared, and I am able to live a full life, the life that I had always imagined but was never able to achieve.
When I first started my simplistic lifestyle, I purged. I went through my closet and donated things that I rarely wore, never used, or just had no real connection to. I got rid of duplicates that I had held onto just for the sake of having an extra, “just in case”. By this act of cleansing my space, I was cleansing myself. By reducing what I physically had, it helped reduce the anxieties that were attached. This transitioned into my shopping habits. My grocery lists composed of basic items, such as fruits, vegetables, bread, beans, etc. I found that even with such simple ingredients, I was still able to make a variety of meals, but it became easier to decide what to make for dinner when I had less in my fridge to choose from. I skip out on gadget upgrades, realizing that I don’t need that new piece of technology, when my old devices work just fine. By focusing on each aspect of my life, and finding ways to implement this idea of LESS, I became MORE fulfilled.
While I have embraced my lifestyle to one of simplicity, I know the challenges of reducing life to that of a minimalist view. I encourage everyone to try this simple lifestyle of LESS = MORE. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Even just going through your stuff, reducing and donating your items is a wonderful start. Being conscious when shopping, and asking yourself if the item that you are interested in buying is one you NEED or one you WANT. Implementing little habits of LESS can lead to a huge transformation of MORE. More time, more energy, and more time to focus on this things and issues that really matter.