Minimalism: 4 Decisions to Make Your Life Easier

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Minimalism: a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.


I like the idea of minimalism. When I moved to the UK I adopted this concept. I managed to leave my country behind me with one cabin bag and nothing else. Three years later, not only I could not enter my tiny room, but my office was also filled with boxes and boxes of stuff. From time to time, I find myself needing to move once again. One positive aspect is that I can practice the principles of minimalism once again.


If you have not heard of the concept yet, I recommend you to start with a documentary called Minimalism. This film was made by two American guys who decided to embrace and teach the concept. They call themselves “The Minimalists“. What I like the most about their work is that they invite us to rethink consumerism and what is important in life. Could we lead a happier life by having less stuff?


There are a lot of benefits associated with going “minimal”. On one hand, you might feel that order has been restored in your physical space by having less stuff. On another hand, you are likely to experience a new sense of psychological freedom. Sometimes it feels like we don’t own our stuff but our stuff owns us. That’s why practicing minimalism can contribute a great deal to our well-being.


Where do we start then? Besides watching the documentary, you can adopt the four-decision model I describe below to go about your stuff and gain greater freedom.

Decision #1: Throw it away

Everything that is broken and has no possible use must go straight away to the rubbish bin. Even if it has great sentimental value.

Decision #2: Sell it 

Some of the items you bought and barely used can be a source of income. You can list them on Facebook’s marketplace, eBay, or any other platforms you can use to sell your items.

Decision #3: Donate it

Everything that it’s not easy to sell online (e.g. clothes) can go to charity shops.

Decision #4: Keep it

Everything that is essential to your daily living can remain.

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The 4-Stage Psychological Response to Disaster

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A disaster is a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship. Can we prevent disasters? No, but we can prepare for them. Emergency disasters deal with survival, which is one of the primary needs of human beings. It includes the need for water, food, rest, clothing, shelter, and health. When preparing for eventual disasters, we can take care of at least four physical needs. These include protection, location, water, and food. Other factors can affect our chance of overcoming an emergency though. Our psychology is one of them.

Abraham Maslow established a difference between deficiency needs and growth needs. Deficiency needs include survival, safety, social, and psychological needs. Growth needs involve fulfilling your full potential as a person (self-actualization). Little harm may come if you don’t meet your growth needs in an emergency. Yet, if you don’t meet your deficiency needs, a lot of unpleasant results arise. Thus, it’s important we mentally train ourselves to respond in case of an emergency.

Colin Towell is the author of The Survival Handbook. He states we go through four different psychological moments in an emergency. These are pre-impact, impact, recoil, and post-trauma. Learning more about these moments can help us prepare and be better equipped. I will briefly describe each of these stages next.

Pre-Impact Period


In this stage, there is danger but some people may not recognize it while others can see it clearly. Those who can’t see danger exists are usually in denial. They refuse to accept the danger until it becomes too obvious to everyone and action is taken.

Impact Period


In this stage, people know there is a life-threatening situation. The majority feels frozen and unable to react rationally. Few people tend to express extreme behaviors (e.g. screaming, melt-downs). A minority usually remains calm and fully aware.

Recoil Period


In this stage, people begin to gradually return to their normal reasoning capacity. This is a period in which people become more aware and in greater control of their emotions.

Post-Trauma Period


This stage occurs when the Recoil Period is not successful. If people don’t get their reasoning and emotions in check, they may develop PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). This condition includes negative experiences such as guilt, depression, anxiety, aimlessness, and bereavement.


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Highly Sensitive People Who Are Also High Sensation Seekers

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A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is someone whose nervous system is very fine-tuned and easily overstimulated. When you have an average sensitive person and an HSP being stimulated with the exact same stimulus, you often find through a brain fMRI that the brain of the HSP lights up much more and in more different areas than the brain of the average sensitive person. That’s why the HSP usually needs more time to recover or recharge at the end of the day. They spend a great amount of energy navigating through simple daily events (e.g. meetings, busy places).

The subjective experience of an HSP becomes trickier when he or she is a high sensation seeker. Not all HSPs have this characteristic but they do exist, even among introvert HSPs. High sensation seekers are often driven by a sense of thrill and adventure. They look out for new experiences and they may get bored easily. They are also not afraid of going against societal norms. I’m an introvert highly sensitive person who is also a high sensation seeker, and I must say it’s difficult. Living with such inner complexity can be pretty overwhelming.

For instance, I love engaging with people but I can’t do it for far too long. At the same time, I can get bored if we only talk about the weather or what the next-door neighbor did lately. Also, if I do the same things over and over again, I start to malfunction. That’s why I have a very unique approach when it comes to managing my time and day. You won’t find me doing the exact same tasks every single day at the same hour and minute. I like to work with blocks of time and types of tasks.

Life can still be fun and exciting but HSPs have a few extra problems. We need to slow down and rest. We find comfort in accountability. We must work smarter at protecting ourselves from unhealthy behavioral patterns. Because we have a hard time managing our energy, we often find ourselves overwhelmed. We become burned down, and we might look for quick restorative fixes such as drugs and food. In my case, I indulge in food to seek relief from over-stimulation and need something to make me feel better. Quick fixes never do the job though. They actually make everything worse.

My advice is to make sure you incorporate as many sources of positivity as possible into your daily life. Positivity helps to buffer stress and overwhelming feelings. Take this as an example of self-care and make it a priority. It takes at least three positive emotions to counteract a negative one. Start doing the math and re-balance your emotional bank account. Seek uplifting conversations and experiences. Do more of what you like doing. Be more with the people that are important to you and make yourself present. Create your own moments of happiness and plan for them. These are healthier ways of getting high without harming yourself.


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