3 Psychological Benefits of Minimalism

Posted on - in Health Inspiration
minimalism benefits

Minimalism doesn’t mean giving up most of your worldly possessions and living out of a backpack. You can still own a car, have a roof over your head, use a few electronics and keep more than one change of clothes.

Minimalists pare down what they have. They look at each possession and ask, “Do I really need this? Really?” They consider each item in the present context, not whether or not it might be needed in the distant future.

Some sell their homes and move into tiny houses. Others just enjoy the extra room they create by having fewer possessions. But minimalism brings more than living space. People derive psychological benefits from the lifestyle as well.


The results are in: Money really doesn’t buy happiness. A recent study found lawyers who make the least money are actually the happiest.

This mistaken correlation of money and happiness might cause some individuals to struggle for higher earnings, hoping more money will bring more satisfaction in life. Ironically, this striving could come at the expense of current happiness.

Other research shows that experiences, not possessions, lead to long-lasting happiness. Enjoyment begins when people plan and anticipate experiences such as trips, concerts and outings. Satisfaction continues during the event, as well as through later reminiscing.

The purchase of objects does not bring similar enduring pleasure. Joy fades as people get used to new belongings.

Actually, giving money away makes people happier. Another psychological investigation found people are happier when they spend money on others rather than on themselves. And this result is not affect by individuals’ income levels.

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Greater Self-Esteem

Poor self-esteem is linked to materialism. The connection appears as early as adolescence. As kids become teens, self-esteem tends to drop. At the same time, materialism is on the rise. Toward the end of high school, adolescents typically feel better about themselves. Meanwhile, their desire for possessions is waning.

However, materialism doesn’t affect just the young. Adults who unconsciously have low levels of self-esteem tend to be more materialistic. The relationship goes both ways: Materialistic adults don’t think too much of themselves.

Even if they say they have a high level of regard for themselves, it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s going on under the surface that makes a difference.

Less Stress

It’s all connected. Materialistic people tend to have low self-esteem. In addition, these folks often respond to high stress by shopping, as the above study shows.

They make purchase after purchase, hoping to feel better, but the opposite occurs. Impulsive spending leads to more stress.

To study the relationship between materialism and stress, researchers studied Israelis living under intense Palestinian rocket attacks for six months. The most materialistic people were the most likely to both engage in compulsive shopping and suffer post-traumatic stress.

A Little Minimalism

Minimalism is not a surefire way to become psychologically strong. There are just too many external and internal variables involved. However, minimalism is associated with benefits that help people live happier, more satisfied and calmer lives.

Plus, you’re not up to your ears in clutter. That’s both a better headspace and a better living space.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!


  1. Mrs Cents @ itmakescents.net

    I definitely agree that minimalism reduces stress. It simplifies life, makes cleaning easier and creates contentment with what you already have in life. We have a rule that we only replace items in our home and not add to them so we definitely save a lot of money doing this.

    3 years ago
  2. Married to a minimalist

    I’m finding that those that aren’t adaptable to their surrounding will find even furniture purchases for a new home to be too stressful. Those not having the skill to cope with responsibility in life have a harder time with even furniture. Being more minimalistist may feel like it helps with stress. But coping with life’s normal stresses still resides without a Higher Power to put your trust in.

    2 years ago
  3. 7 Tips For Living A Minimalist Lifestyle - Gypsy Soul

    […] living a minimalist lifestyle you’ll feel better and less stressed, and you’ll also help the planet by generating less waste. It’s a win-win situation for […]

    2 years ago

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