Minimalism: The Cure
Minimalism: The Cure
The first time I recall experiencing an anxiety attack was in 2007, my sophomore year of high school. The feeling of an anxiety attack may actually be indescribable and if you've never experienced one, it's not a feeling I would wish for you to feel. Anxiety is like a tattoo; no matter how many times you've experienced it, you never actually get used to the feeling. All you can do is surrender and sit through it until it's over. Sad story, right?
After suffering with anxiety attacks for 10+ years, I can confidentially say that I've conquered the beast. (Of course if you feel the need to seek help from a professional, please do). Luckily, I was able to pin point what areas of my life needed special attention, so eventually my anxiety attacks diminished. But remember, anxiety attacks are like that ex you want gone; as soon as you're chillin', single and happy, they try to creep back up right when you least expect it. I've tried many approaches on figuring out what exactly triggers them for me, and you may be surprised at what my remedy is.
The approach that has worked the most efficiently is as simple as it sounds: Minimalism.
What exactly is minimalism, you may ask? Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. Not only can a minimalist lifestyle improve your living space, it will improve your brain space as well. Minimalism is a lifestyle that encourages intentionality.
The clearing out of old energy in my home brings such a feeling of freedom that I cannot seek anywhere else. Let's think about it; A cluttered, unorganized space is not only unappealing to the eye, its overwhelming to the mind. You may be thinking, "but I'm clean, I'm already organized! My anxiety doesn't come from this!" While that may be true, ask yourself these questions: "What is it that I am being so organized with? Am I hoarding clothes I'll never wear again? Books I'll never read again? Mail from 3 months ago that has no use in my organized space?"
Think of your brain as a filing cabinet. You can only store so much until you either totally lose track of what you're storing, run out of room for newer, better information (energy, thoughts, ideas), or until the cabinet breaks! (Anxiety attack, yikes!)
Remember, chaos on the outside (environment) causes chaos on the inside (mental) which in turn naturally causes us to freak out a little. It's okay, breathe! Here are some tips for how to become a minimalist and reduce your worries!
- Clear out your closet. If the item has been there collecting dust and you haven't wore it in a while (I go by the 6 month rule), chances are you never will. Give to Goodwill, help someone out. You must clear out the old to make room for the new!
- Clean out your phone! As humans in the new world, we use our phones for a large majority of the day. Phones carry information, so once we are finished with that particular information for the day, clean your phone. Start the new day fresh with a mediation and a nice, organized phone.
- Complete a 10-minute tidy everyday. Inspired by the "10 second tidy" on the iconic kids show Big Comfy Couch, set aside 10 minutes to complete small tasks such as making your bed, cleaning the last few dishes, dusting, etc. (never under estimate the power within kids shows - this is a habit I exercise daily and has dramatically improved my life!)
- Minimize your to-do list. It's best to practice having no more than 5 things to do per day. Keep your list at a daily list rather than weekly, or monthly. As we live day by day, your to-do lists should be the same.
- Set your bill due dates and automatic withdrawals on the same date for each month. Minimize the amount of dates you have to keep track of each month. Birthdays are already enough, right?
- Last but not least, just take some time to create a routine and promise yourself you will do all that you can to stay on track. Routine forms habit. Some days will be better than others, but a little day to day blueprint never hurt anybody.
The whole point of using minimalism while dealing with anxiety is forming the habit of clearing your mind by cleaning your environment from distraction. This will help to create a mental space dedicated to positive, forward thinking, instead of having a mind full of cluttered, disorganized fear. Even though I am recommending minimalism based off of my personal experience, I believe the ultimate key to overcoming anxiety is to control and organize what you can, whatever that is for you. Always remember; You deserve peace of mind, and luckily you are the ruler of your mind. I hope these tips will lead you into living an anxiety free (and dirt free) life!
Peace, love and light,