Over the last few years, the minimalist movement has grown quite maximally and led people to completely rethink the way they choose to live their lives. Minimalism has even allowed hoarders to take their lives back and helped people to value relationships with family and friends again instead of material possessions.
It is a trend, a movement, a lifestyle, a mindset that has especially taken off because we’re living in a time where – now more than ever – people in the western world are living in abundance. That said, being a “minimalist” can mean many different things to all types of people. So…
What Is Minimalism?
For “The Minimalists,” Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, minimalism isn’t just a special fad cloaked in a fancy name to finally get you to do your spring cleaning.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom,” Nicodemus writes.  “Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”
Adopting a lifestyle of minimalism has helped them the following, which many people struggle with: 
- Eliminate our discontent
- Reclaim our time
- Live in the moment
- Pursue our passions
- Discover our missions
- Experience real freedom
- Create more, consume less
- Focus on our health
- Grow as individuals
- Contribute beyond ourselves
- Rid ourselves of excess stuff
- Discover purpose in our lives
Why Less Is More
Researchers who conducted a study at Princeton University found that people who lived in cluttered environments were barely able to focus for prolonged periods of time.  In fact, they found that all of the stuff actually stopped their brains from being able to process information properly.
Another four-year study from researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families even found that minimalism could help reduce stress and anxiety.  Cluttered rooms especially caused stress levels to rise in mothers.
Overconsumption, overstimulation, and overwhelm are clearly a vicious cycle that people around the world are feeling the negative effects of, which is why minimalist populations are growing.
The popularity of Japanese minimalism has been growing, too. The detached, impermanent mindset that permeates minimalism is directly in line with the desire for simplicity found at the core of Zen Buddhism. 
Inside the homes of people who practice Japanese minimalism, you’ll often find simple, sparse rooms. A low-sitting table with no chairs. One set of cutlery for everyone in the house. One set of dishes. No bed frames, just mattresses. Every household item you will find serves a very specific, practical purpose. Although it may seem empty, it has a funny way of helping you clear your mind and calm you down.
4 Videos of Japanese Minimalism You Have to See (and Try)
Here’s a quick virtual tour of Japanese minimalist homes…
If You Want the Benefits of Minimalism, Start with This Challenge: How to De-Clutter Your Home in 30 Days
 Nicodemus, R. (2015, July 12). What Is Minimalism? Retrieved from https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/
 McMains, S., & Kastner, S. (2011, January 12). Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3072218/
 Sullivan, M. (2012, June 19). Trouble in paradise: UCLA book enumerates challenges faced by middle-class L.A. families. Retrieved from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/trouble-in-paradise-new-ucla-book
 Shamsian, J. (2018, August 09). 32 photos that show how obsessed Japan is with minimalism. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/inside-japans-extremely-minimalist-homes-2016-6
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