Why Living A Minimalistic Lifestyle Relieves Anxiety
Updated: Feb 7, 2020
Which would you say is more ideal when selecting a type of shampoo? 90 bellow average options with 10 excellent options or, only 2 above average options to pick from with 1 below average option?
If you're like me, then you'd go with the 3 above average options because you have 3 still good choices, maybe not as amazing as one of the 10 excellent options, but you'd be able to make a decision in 1/3 of the time because you don't have to sift through 90 terrible options in hopes you get 1 of the good ones. If you get the below-average one you can just go back and select either of the two shampoos and you'll most likely be good to go.
Now, this isn't to say that fewer options are ALWAYS better, in certain cases, it isn't, however more often than not, it is. Our brains just are not wired to select from a bunch of choices, we like simple. Since we are just slightly more intelligent apes, our species is mainly used to elk or buffalo for dinner and back then you didn't get to pick, it was just whichever the tribe was able to catch for the day.
Now we have supermarkets full of options, and online retailers that can get anything to your door by the end of the week. This is overwhelming, there's everything to pick from, however, even though this is the case, we tend to stick to a few brands and websites. Why? Well, because it's less work for our brains, which is likely a safe way to go when we are familiar with and trust a brand. The next option could be better, but it's risky to switch and try it out so we often just stick to what we are used to.
How to apply this to your home and life
From here we need to take this valuable information, the less is more approach, and apply it to our lives because it will free up mental space to focus more and be more present with what matters in life such as work, family, friends, or hobbies that bring us joy.
I'd bet there's a good chance you have a way to many clothes. Ask yourself how often you get rid of clothes. Then with what regularity you purchase them. There are a few reasons why simplifying your wardrobe will reduce mental anxiety and open up your brain to its full creative power.
At this point, you likely have read somewhere about how and why Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing every day. But did you know Warren Buffets wife picks out his clothing and gives him the exact amount of change to use to buy breakfast from McDonald's? Here's what he said in an HBO documentary:
[qutoe] "When I'm not feeling quite so prosperous, I might go with the $2.61, which is two sausage patties, and then I put them together and pour myself a Coke," he told director Peter Kunhardt in the documentary. "$3.17 is a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, but the market's down this morning, so I'll pass up the $3.17 and go with the $2.95 [sausage, egg and cheese]."
Now, of course, you're probably not going to go to these extremes. However, reducing how many pairs of clothing you have to maybe just two weeks worth could be a good place to start. Then later on down the road, you may find it worthwhile to construct this system in a way to that you can create a plethora of variations with those options that will allow you to reduce the amount of choice you have to make when selecting clothes. If you really want to get serious about it and offload another semi-irrelevant decision, I'd (or have your assistant) schedule out what your going to wear each day of the month so all you have to do is look at your calendar and boom, it's already been decided what to wear allowing you to use that decision for a more important issue later in the day, like which surgery to give a patient, how you're going to construct your argument for a case, or what marketing photo is best.
Now go get rid of some stuff to defrag your brain so you have more processing power every day for the important moments in life like helping kids with homework, paying attention at a meeting, or just enjoying a walk with your dog. If you feel like you need help with this, reach out to me and let's connect! You can press that button in the top left corner, or reach out to me on Instagram at either @jptaxman24 or @uprelief