How Simple Living Can Simplify Your Anxiety

Here is a personal testimony of how adopting to minimalistic habits has helped me clear my mind of unnecessary distractions, beginning with the physical clutter in my home. Different mechanisms work for different people. Let's see if this might fit for you to reduce your unease in mental processing.

Reverting back to the year of 2017, I came across the Netflix documentary, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things", written and directed by Matt D'Avella. I was 19 years old, straight out of high school, and seeking for more meaningful direction in my life as I was transitioning into the "real" world. Although the Minimalist movement appeared to be more of a trend for those who were sharing it on social media platforms, I deeply resonated with the message behind it all.

My life at that point in time was only then clearing up from a dark, bleak fog. I was recovering from sexual abuse trauma and Pancreatic cancer, overwhelmed with how to cope life changing events. Other than the Mother-Daughter talks I recieved as emotional support during my teenage years, I had limited understanding of my extreme anxiety attacks over the most basic responsibilites. I remember the early mornings throughout the school year while anticipating the bus, I would have meltdowns prior if I were late for pickup. Most of my stress at this time derived from time management, socializing, and managing a clean bedroom. It's somewhat humorous to me now when I think about how my list of "responsibilites" were to go to school, get good grades, and do my chores. Ahhh, when life was a little less complex.

Anyways, as you can tell, I was an easily troubled teenager, but can you blame me? Regardless - I was ready for change.

Fast forward again when puberty and unfortunate circumstances hovered past me, I was ready for some positive changes in my life. The Minimalism lifestyle sparked a new interest towards a fresh start. I began to do what I call "purging" of all my personal belongings: clothes, books, decorations, furniture, etc. Everything that I personally felt no attatchment to or could potentially be useful for me in the future, I ditched it to my local Goodwill or family members that were in need of these items. This become a recurring tradition for myself every 6 to 8 months, which I still continue to this day!

The feeling after this process lifted so much emotional baggage from the previous years. It was more than just having a clean, organized, simple layout. I was able to hear and let myself think clearly for the first time in what seemed like forever. Eliminating the constant diversions of a cluttered living space enabled me to start with a blank canvas for how I would like to envision my future. I was no longer going to be a victim of my past and continue living as if I was tainted goods. There is so much out in the world I am thrilled to begin discovering, but the Minimalist outlook definitley was one of my stepping stones in order to regain that excitement.

As life presents new challenges, I still struggle with managing anxiety from time to time, but towards different scenarios. However, unlike being in the dark like I was during my teenage years, I have been able to become empowered by educating myself on this topic. One form of anxiety is called Eustress (the good type that can motivate, inspire, and protect you from dangerous situations) and the other is called Distress (not-so-good type, distracts you from daily routines, can cause physical complications over time). Anxiety is an absolutley normal reaction to positive and negative situations, what matters is how you allow yourself to react. Here's a great affirmation I came across that reminds me of the control I have in times of high-stress:

"Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-today challenges are keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingrediant to living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life." Marilu Henner.

Nervousness, anxiousness, and worry will come. It's a part of life and we cannot escape times of intense pressure. It is in those very moments that test our character and truly define who we are. The question that matters and can help you understand your current status with handling these feelings is: How fast can you bounce back after you've been knocked down?

If you struggle with managing your stress, don't be afraid to ask for help! For more guidance on my personal coping mechanisms, feel free to contact me on my blog or social media. Otherwise, reach out to trusted family, friends, or professional support resources.

Until next Sunday, take care!

Your Truly, Plumeria Hahn.

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