Category Archives: 5 things

gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude.  I read somewhere, in a book or online,  that gratitude is the key to happiness.  That resonated with me.  We get so caught up in the bad, that we totally forget about all the good in our lives to be thankful for.   So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been reciting what I’m grateful for in my life before bed.  It keeps me in check, puts the bad vs. good in perspective.  Just to share, here are a few things I am deeply grateful for in my life right now:

1.  My vision (eyesight, that is).  I can see, though not very well, I still can see the beautiful sunset, the ocean, my niece and nephew laughing and playing, etc.  From a person who has “complicated” vision, I can tell you that it is priceless to be able to see.  Through two years of exams, surgery, and Lasik scheduled soon, I’m on track to being able to see better.   And this I am thankful for beyond words.

2.  My friends and family.  Though I don’t have a big family or a ton of friends, I’m thankful for those in my life who care for me, and I for them.

3.  My cat.  Ha!  He makes me laugh, he satisfies my need to take care of something, and keeps me company when I’m alone.

4.  My job.  It keeps a roof over my head, bills paid, and food on the table.  Maybe it’s not my dream, but it’s been paving the way towards it everyday and every paycheck.

5.  My apartment and my car.  For the first time in my life, I feel secure where I live and with the car I have.  Neither are extravagant by any means, but I love my new place, and I love not worrying about my car breaking down everyday.  It’s peaceful right now, and I need peace in my life.

What are you grateful for in your life?  Take a couple of minutes and make a small list either on paper or quietly in your mind.  Recite that list to yourself whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by the bad.  It helps, it really does.

 

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5 reasons to become a minimalist

1.  Create more physical and mental space.  Minimalism is generally about reducing possessions to only what you need.  Creating more physical space and in result, creating more mental space.  Pairing down possessions is the start of minimalism, but it’s really a state of mind.  Less possessions= more space, more time, more money, and more mental clarity and peace of mind.

2.  Gain control of your finances (and sanity).  I speak from personal experience on this.  Money issues can ruin relationships, send you into a state of constant worry or even provoke panic attacks.  Heading towards minimalism really does quiet your money noise and give you control over your financial situation.  Since I’ve chosen to live a more minimalist life, I have stopped obsessing about money.  I’m not on the trail of mindless consuming and buying everything I possibly can anymore.  Thus my money noise is fading day by day.  I still have a lot of debt and not a lot of savings, but I’m not stressed anymore about it.  Money is not my main focus.

3.  Go green!  When you move in the direction of a minimalist lifestyle, you automatically lighten your environmental impact.  Whether you have simply cut down on consuming stuff or have gone more extreme and sold your car, going green is inevitable with minimalism.

4.  Strengthen relationships.  When you don’t have so much stuff to obsess over, acquire, worry about, keep clean and organized, etc., more time is available to cultivate personal relationships.  Relationships are so much more important than material things.  Your stuff can’t hold your hand or laugh with you at the movies, or go for a hike (well technically I guess it can, but you know what I’m saying).  People are what matter, things are not.

5.  Find what you love.   What are you passionate about?  Do you even know?  It’s very typical for people to get so obsessed with acquiring money and things, that they can’t even answer those questions.  Once you have shifted your focus to a less-materialistic minimalist mindset, you will have the space and time to find your passions.   Take that yoga class, sign up for that art course, start the small business you’ve been dreaming about but never thought was possible.  Stop focusing on things, and start focusing on the present and find what you love.


5 easy things you can do this week to become a minimalist

1.  Pick a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, a corner…some space in your home/garage/workplace.  Remove everything.  Only put back the essentials.  Recycle, donate, and/or toss the remaining.

2.  Clean out your purse or wallet.  It’s amazing how many receipts, pennies, rewards cards, and if you’re like me….exta junk!  can pile up inside.  After you’ve minimalized down to what you truly use (do you really need to be carrying around 50 pennies and 20 store discount cards?), vow to clean out unnecessary items every day.

3.  Unsubscribe from 5-10 email subscriptions.  Last week I took about 10 minutes and unsubscribed from about 20 email subscriptions from Borders Rewards, GAP, etc.  Not only does my inbox stay tidy, but I don’t have the urge to shop and spend money on unnecessary things.

4.  Practice meditation or yoga for 20 minutes.  What does this have to do with minimalism you ask?  My belief is that a minimalist lifestyle is not just about clearing out physical clutter, but mental clutter as well.  Yoga and mediation are fantastic ways of calming and clearing your mind.  My yoga classes are my therapy, my workout, my peace of mind.

5.  Pick one goal or task you would like to accomplish, and start working towards it.  No matter if this is small, like finally taking the donations to the Goodwill truck, or big like starting a home business, pick a goal, focus all your energy on it, and take steps to accomplish it.  This is the minimalist approach to accomplishing goals and it works.  Too many goals at once can be too much pressure and stress.  It can be very easy to throw up your hands and say “Forget it, I’ll never be able to accomplish all this!”.  Pick one goal, and start taking the necessary steps today.