Thank you for reading the second post in my mini series on the minimalistic life. In the first post, we talked about how you should be more mindful about all the stuff you buy, and today we will take that idea a step further – by practicing gratitude.
I understand, it can be difficult to withstand all the temptations of western culture and materialism. After all, we are kind of programmed to always wanting more in order to prepare for harder times. The paradox is, you are often better prepared for the future, if you just leave your money in the bank.
So how do you get out of the mind-set of always wanting bigger, better and faster things? You start by practicing gratitude.
A regular gratitude practice has actually been shown in studies, to make people less materialistic and value other things higher than things. And why is that good?
For instance, a 1992 study by Drs. Richins and Dawson themselves, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that more-materialistic people feel less satisfied both with their lives as a whole and with the amount of fun and enjoyment they get out of day-to-day life. More recently, a study by Todd Kashdan and William Breen, published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, found that materialistic people experience more negative emotion (such as fear and sadness), less positive emotion and less meaning in their lives. (1)
So with a gratitude practice comes less materialism, and with less materialism comes a more fulfilling life. Less materialism also enables you to live the minimalistic life.
From my personal experience, I can see why more gratitude equals less materialism. If you for use the practice, that I will get into in a moment, and therefore have to remind yourself of what you are grateful for every day – you begin to see, that you rarely mention your possessions. By doing so, most people would realize, what really matters are relationships to other people, achievements and the simpler things in life (yay! the sun is shining today).
I will give you a method of practicing gratitude, that has gotten very popular this last year. It is called “The 5 Minute Journal” (5MJ).
5MJ literally only takes five minutes to fill out, and sometimes even less. It reminds you of 3 things you are grateful for, what would make your day and it asks you to make a daily affirmation.
You will not have to use 5MJ for many days, before you begin to notice, what is truly important for you. Try to use it every day – and you will soon be able to take the next step towards living a minimalistic lifestyle.
Thanks for reading!