Since childhood, I have practiced minimalism, not knowing how to label this practice. Earlier it was all about keeping a limited number of unique clothes, matched with accessories to make my closet seem ‘bigger’ than it is. Early this year, I discovered @mnmlgrlblog on Instagram where she shares tips, tricks and resources for living a full, minimal life. Encouraged by the new-found community, I began exploring how to apply minimalism to the rest of my life. I chatted with her on how I can apply minimalistic principles to improve our emotional lives and she encouraged me to share these thoughts on mnmlgrl.com.
The following is my journey of applying principles of minimalism to improve my
emotional well-being and lessen negative thoughts. These methods are nothing new
but worth emphasizing because they are often overlooked. These tips were inspired
in part by the bestseller, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Mr. Robin Sharma. This
book made me realize that our mind is never empty and is constantly working, or
rather thinking! Most of these thoughts are unnecessary and occupy much space in
our minds which is a barrier to constructive thinking. While we say our mind is a
fertile garden which can grow extraordinary things – the truth is that having little
empty space for fresh and positive thoughts leaves little room for anything
constructive or useful to grow.
These tactics are minimal because they don’t involve buying anything new, they make do with what you have and, in most cases, require you to use and appreciate what you already have!
I was always very self-aware and noticed that I was getting excessive negative thoughts. I found 7 minimal ways which helped reduce negativity from my mind and life. Here they are -
1) If it's a negative thought, stop there!! Do not react instantly. Take a few deep
breaths and choose a less ‘instant’ response. Look for a positive approach for
the same thought. For instance, if a friend did not invite you to celebrate her
birthday, don’t immediately judge her for doing so. Perhaps she wanted to
spend her special day with her partner or wanted a quite dinner with family
instead. If your husband forgot to tell you about an investment he made don’t
immediately assume he doesn’t trust you in financial matters. Instead have a
conversation with him when you have cooled down and come up with a
process that will prevent it from happening again.
2) Music is an instant mood-lifter! Listening to your favorite music can change things up and make you feel lighter if you’re feeling low for no reason. Bonus points if you begin dancing which will release endorphins (the feel good hormones!).
3) Maintain basic hygiene and good nutrition. No matter how your day went, ensure that you wake up the next day, take a shower, stay hydrated and eat some fresh fruit and veg. Help your body and mind to stay healthy by getting enough rest, staying hydrated and eating the best quality food you can afford. Your body is designed to stay healthy – practice good habits to keep it that way.
4) Get moving. Go for a walk, dance to your favorite Bollywood video, swim with the dolphins….whatever it is that gets you moving do so! Aerobic activities will pump more oxygen into your brain and help you feel fresh and invigorated!
5) Pamper yourself. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. Maybe do your nails or share a healthy meal with your family. Perhaps you want to soak in the tub or just play with your pets or just watch TV with your kids. Whatever feels like pampering to you – do it! I recently gave myself a manicure and pedicure and enjoyed it a lot!
6) Think outside the box. Think outside yourself. The root of all misery is thinking we’re unfortunate until you look around you and observe everyone is struggling. Go out of your way and give to charity, go to the old age home and sit with the elderly, volunteer at the local orphanage. Just get out of your comfort zone and soon it will keep your mind away from unnecessary thoughts.
7) Go through your phone contacts and call your friends & family! I can’t emphasize this enough but sometimes we get so wound up in our lives and problems that we don’t realize that people are in our corner! Just a friendly chat with loved ones will fill you up with pleasant memories and put things in perspective. Some say we are the average of 5 people we meet. Make sure the people you surround yourself with doesn’t pull you down instead helps you looks at yourself in positive light.
Comment below, which of these tips do you already apply in your lives? Share some of your tips to feel great on a blah day.
Thanks for hearing my story and do let me know how you practice minimalism in your daily lives.- Afshaah
This article was edited by mnmlgrl.
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