A minimalist life is not only a counter-design to our fast-paced consumer and performance society, but can also make us happier and more satisfied like when being the andar bahar winner. Researchers confirm this in a major study.
In uncertain times like these, between pandemics, wars and the climate crisis, many people long for a simpler life. It’s no wonder, then, that minimalism has become a major movement in recent years. It’s about reducing things to the essentials, about not always wanting more, but instead focusing on what you really need. It makes you focus better on things you have and sets you free. Because if you look openly at your daily life you will see that you do not need many things. And the most important things you can not buy anyways.
Minimalism is thus clearly to be understood as an antithesis to the consumption-oriented turbo-capitalism of our time with its ever-increasing drive for growth. Minimalists ask themselves and the world the question: Does it really always have to be more? Do we need constant consumption and abundance? On the contrary: Wouldn’t we be happier with less, with a simpler life? This question concerns many people, especially researchers. So they have conducted a study.
STUDIES SHOW: A SIMPLE LIFE ACTUALLY MAKES YOU HAPPIER
Many researchers have also investigated this question. The Journal of Positive Psychology has published a meta-analysis of 23 studies on minimalism and well-being. And the investigation of the team around Joshua Hook of the University of North Texas confirms actually: More than 80 per cent of the examined studies could find a positive connection between a consciously simple life and an increased well-being. Both studies with a quantitative component, i.e. a number-based score, and those with a qualitative score, i.e. interviews, for example, confirmed the thesis that a minimalist life makes people happier.
The researchers suspect that this connection is based on the fact that people who prefer a simple lifestyle are better able to control their consumption cravings than others. They are automatically more concerned with the psychological needs that contribute to personality development, such as independence or competence.
But: Wealthy people are not necessarily happier with minimalism.
Another finding of the study, however, is that this clear link between minimalism and life satisfaction is found primarily among people with low incomes. People with greater financial means do not necessarily find more satisfaction in the “less is more” approach.
This could be related to the fact that people with higher incomes get used to a certain standard of living more quickly and therefore find it harder to be fulfilled and happy with less consumption and growth.
LESS IS MORE: IS THIS THE PATH TO HAPPINESS?
“I think this research counters the general tendency in our society to always want more,” explains Joshua Hook. “It’s one of the biggest lies of our time that we just need more money, more material possessions, and more in general to be happy. Instead, we should be looking at other ways to increase our contentment – and living more simply might be something worth trying.”
After all, living a minimalist life doesn’t have to mean moving into a cabin in the woods like writer Henry David Thoreau or owning only 100 material things. But asking yourself what you actually need can help.
When making life decisions such as a larger apartment, a new car or another handbag, at least ask yourself what need is really behind it. Often it is the pressure of our performance and growth society that makes us believe that we have to expand and want more. Being a little more mindful when it comes to consumption not only protects the planet, but also makes us more satisfied in the long term.