With more and more millennials adjusting to the minimalist lifestyle, extreme minimalism takes it to a whole other level. Is extreme minimalism the new normal, or a total catastrophe? By understanding extreme minimalism first, we might be able to answer this question easier.
Extreme minimalism isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires strong discipline and someone who’s comfortable with having the bare minimum. Ideally, you’ve practiced typical minimalism beforehand- and you’re well developed with multiple techniques to assist you in living an extreme minimalism lifestyle.
Someone who chooses to become an extreme minimalist is actively challenging themselves to shift their beliefs. They might be seeking less chaos in their lives, and turn to extreme minimalism to achieve that. Or they could be wanting to change their habits entirely. Above all, we must remember that each person has different reasons for doing something that we might consider to be “a total catastrophe.”
What is Extreme Minimalism
Extreme minimalism is a lifestyle where one chooses to live on the absolute bare necassaisites. Different from a “typical minimalist life,” extreme minimalism can involve a significant reduction in assets- material possessions and even long-ingrained habits.
Why Does Someone Turn to Extreme Minimalism?
There are many reasons why one might turn to becoming an extreme minimalist. As an empath, it helped me feel a sense of control. An extreme minimalist life can be interpreted in many ways, depending on our understanding of why someone may choose this lifestyle. Above all, if we neglect to understand why someone turns to extreme minimalism, we become ignorant about the fact.
Find a list of reasons why someone might turn to extreme minimalism below:
- Seeking a lifestyle change
- Decreasing their expenditure habits
- Challenging their control
- Searching for less chaos in their life
- Hoping to save money
- Attempting to feel content with less
- Trying to appreciate what they have
- Aiming to calm anxiety (or other internal issues)
- Coping mechanism
Does Extreme Minimalism Work?
The extreme minimalist lifestyle certainly isn’t for everyone. A “typical minimalist life” might not even be suitable for some. However, extreme minimalism does work for someone who’s advanced their mindset and developed adequate techniques to live on the bare minimum.
Letting go of two-thirds of your possessions can be a daunting realization for some people. And if it’s never crossed your mind before, an extreme minimalist lifestyle won’t work for you.
Being an extreme minimalist works for someone who’s using it as a tool to better their lives somehow. If you want to become an extreme minimalist but don’t believe in any benefits, you’ll likely fail miserably.
One must be mentally prepared for this lifestyle, as it can be more of a mental challenge, to begin with as opposed to physical.
Someone who relies heavily on material possessions or temporary satisfaction from consumerism will certainly find an extreme minimalist lifestyle hard. In fact, these types of people might even degrade such a lifestyle (due to a lack of understanding.)
The Benefits of Extreme Minimalism
Extreme Minimalism Develops a Deeper Appreciation for Each Possession
When one turns to extreme minimalism, over time they begin to develop a deeper appreciation for their possessions. With a lifestyle that relies on living off of the bare minimum necessities, an extreme minimalist deeply values every item they own and is reminded of gratitude. Healing and a spiritual awakening can arise too.
Such awareness can be hard for someone (like me) who does not follow an extreme minimalist lifestyle to appreciate their possessions so deeply. Of course, I’m thankful for everything I have. But I’ll admit, I’m not always thanking the universe every day for such blessings.
Extreme minimalist life serves as a benefit in this aspect, therefore, allowing someone to remain in a gracious and mindful mindset.
Extreme Minimalism Decreases Mind-Chatter
Mind-chatter is an issue many people struggle with. Our thoughts can become overly-consuming, and being an extreme minimalist benefits to decrease such mind-chatter.
When you’re living in an environment with less, one might assume this gives a person more anxiety- however, over time it becomes the complete opposite.
In other words, the less you have around you, the more clearly your thoughts become. It’s from here you can begin to weave out negative thoughts consuming you and start working on yourself to calm your mind-chatter.
Extreme Minimalism Saves Money
It’s no surprise that an extreme minimalist lifestyle will save you money in the long-term. In other words, some people choose to follow this path for this exact reason. Whatever the case, the less you indulge in mindless consumerism, the more money you’ll save.
Saving money on the amount of clothes you buy, how much food you need, storage solution, and other “essentials” can all go back into your bank account. Because you’d have learnt and implemented reusable alternatives to products. Yipee!
How to Become a Minimalist
The easiest way to begin practicing extreme minimalism is through presence and awareness. And for some people, it might be unwise to begin throwing away everything you own in an attempt to live more minimally.
In that instance, here’s some things you can do instead:
- Cut back on spending money (what you buy, how often, cutting subscriptions, etc)
- Reuse and repurpose items
- Refrain from over-consuming
- Practise gratitude and being content with what you have
- Find multi-purpose solutions to what you own
If you can afford to rid a few items, the best place to start is small. Decluttering of your makeup, wardrobe, and shoe collection are popular places that allow the minimalism juice to flow. Other times, getting rid of two-of-the-same items and only keeping what’s necessary in the present moment can also be helpful.
When Does it Become Too Much?
You call the shots when practising extreme minimalism, which means the moment you’re unhappy– that’s a good indicator to hold back. There are different “signs” for different people to be aware of if it becomes too much.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or irritated with your current extreme minimalism practise – let it go for a while. When extreme minimalism impedes on your financial or spiritual well being, this is also an indicator to take a rest.
When you’re unable to intertwine extreme minimalism into your life, you might not be ready or committed to such practise–which is ok.
Indicators That You’re Ready to Start
Look out for some of these tell-tale signs that’ll let you know that you might be ready to begin practising basic minimalism or extreme minimalism:
- You’re wanting to declutter your life
- You need a clearer mind
- You’re unhappy with your consumerism
- Your boredom is becoming more apparent
- You are feeling more inspired about owning less
- You’ve been preparing/thinking about it often
- You have a natural “drawing” to it
Most people have an inner-knowing that you are ready to try practising extreme minimalism. Therefore, it isn’t something that can be forced, and if it is– the person needs to be willing to choose to remain active. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t work.
Have Fun With it!
Thankfully, there are no laws regarding extreme minimalism – and luckily for you, that means you have control as to how hard or fast you’ll take it. Although some people judge others for what they’re doing wrong, reality is, you can’t really get it wrong.
If you’re trying your best, and remembering to keep a positive attitude– then things will naturally flow and feel right for you. Doing this will also help you become a happier, more positive person in return.
Although the task of up-keeping such practise might appear daunting, if you remain in a grateful and open frame of mind, then those feelings will slowly subside.
Remember; if you’ve been wanting to try extreme minimalism, take it slowly and one day at a time. Above all, don’t be too hard on yourself, and have fun with it!
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