Does a Minimalist Lifestyle Decrease Your Stress Levels?

Does a Minimalist Lifestyle Decrease Your Stress Levels?

This is a guest post by Emily, a sustainability writer who believes in creating a better life that is also better for our planet. She is also the editor of Conservation Folks.

There has been a growing global trend toward minimalism. People are abandoning anything from cable TV to extra pairs of clothing.

When asking about such lifestyle changes, you will probably hear something about “simplifying” or “not stressing”. People everywhere are downsizing and forsaking the very things that once symbolized comfort and success, all in pursuit of destressing.

But is there a truth to that? Can you quickly eliminate stress by merely cutting down the amount of stuff in your life?

For now, the answer seems to be yes.

The Purpose of Decluttering

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The underlying philosophy of minimalism is very, very similar to decluttering. By minimalizing you are in essence decluttering your very existence.

Decluttering focuses on the micro, though, advising you to clean up this pile of papers or sort through that drawer, taking a steady and measured approach to cleaning and organizing each room in your house.

The purpose of decluttering is freeing your mind from all the distracting and ugly things surrounding you.

A messy bed or cluttered floor unconsciously weighs on your mind, making you feel cornered and threatened by encroaching junk. By cleaning, you are essentially putting your life back together and allowing yourself to focus on a beautiful and well-ordered environment.

Minimalism is the same basic premise, taken one step further.

Instead of only focusing on the things that are junk, minimalism seeks to eliminate anything that draws your unconscious focus away from those belongings connected to joy or fond memories. You’ll end up with a lot of empty space — the same side-effect as cleaning.

Social Competition

Ownership is a huge factor in social status. What other reason could people have to buy gigantic HD TVs and home theatre systems?

While quality can be nice, the need to show others your new toys is something fundamentally connected to being human. And like any other competitive game, ownership can be very stressful. We want to keep up, to compete with our friends and neighbors.

The fact remains: you can’t lose a game you don’t play.

By making the conscious choice to cast away objects of material competition, you will have nothing to compare with others. You’ll even make your friends uncomfortable showing off their new toys: it is socially taboo to flaunt your possessions if others have none.

The same angle applies to new, trendy clothing, expensive artwork, and anything else that causes competitive social anxiety.

This can even have the added benefit of steering your friendships to a new depth that would be otherwise impossible. Conversations can stray away from superficial topics on recent purchases and into more existential, significant territories. It won’t happen every time, but the possibility is there.

Money

It’s fine to wax philosophical, but there is one concrete benefit to downsizing and minimalizing: you save a ton of money. All the money that normally goes into new and unnecessary possessions ends up in your pocket.

Freed from the need to compete and stack your things against others’, spend that money any way you want! Go on a vacation with the kids, put it toward a project you’ve always wanted to complete. It’s entirely your call, as long as it makes you happy.

Of course, giving yourself these memorable, meaningful experiences also does wonders for your long-term stress levels. You’ll feel more fulfilled, more capable of doing what you want when you want to.

And if you choose to save the money, that lessens a whole brand of financial stress as well. No more need to paint the radiator black to try to save a few dollars!

You

One of the greatest modern myths is that an abundance of pricy items makes a person happy.

You fill your day looking through a loaded wardrobe or staring at the TV, and that makes you happy, right? But in this lifestyle, where do you fit in?

Consumerism seems to make you a witness to your own life, passively wasting your time and distracting yourself from the things you want.

This is the big one: minimalism leaves time for you.

Instead of distracting yourself by staring at your vast — impossible to ignore — TV, you can sit with nothing but a cup of coffee and get to know yourself again. Take a walk in a beautiful place, put on a pair of wool socks and snuggle up with a book, putting yourself in the shoes of your favorite character.

If you really love a movie or a show, go ahead and treat yourself to it. Minimalism makes room for anything you care about, whatever form it takes.

Minimalism

One final thing to remember: minimalism is a process. Don’t throw out your TV, burn your wardrobe and lock yourself in your room tomorrow.

Take a few days and really think about the things you want and need in your life. Then slowly move away from the rest.

You’ll find your social stress subsiding, especially as you carve out time for yourself.

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8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

Why are there so few female CEOs? It’s a commonly discussed topic in the Australian business landscape, and often highlighted as an issue in society.

This has been made evident in the inaugural Robert Half CEO Tracker, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half to identify common traits amongst the leaders of the ASX 200-listed companies. The research found the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the majority of ASX 200 CEOs are men (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the current C-suite employment market, with women underrepresented in top positions – a fact that applies to not only ASX 200-listed companies.

Despite this, it’s well known that diversified boardrooms with women represented across leadership positions bring enormous value to organisations and the wider business community. This is not just because of their wealth of experience and knowledge. But also because of their diverse perspective applied to business strategy that’s required for any organisation to succeed.

Whilst looking at the low percentage of female CEOs, within our Executive Search branch, we’re seeing a strong push for diversity from companies looking to hire at the C-suite level. Organisations are actively specifying diversity in their recruitment agendas, and not only just based on gender, but on an all-inclusive approach.

While there still is a long way to go for women to be represented equally at the boardroom table, it’s encouraging to acknowledge just how far Australian women have come and actively promote steps they can take to further their careers in the business world. More can always be done to empower women within the workplace. And understanding the common professional characteristics of top Australian CEOs is a great place to start their C-suite journey.

For women looking to hone their personal attributes, CEOs need to be clear communicators who are capable of both giving direction and accepting expert opinion. And as with all leadership positions, exceptional people skills are essential. By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts.

How Women Can Grow Their Career

energy focus and productivity tips for anyone working from home all day

1. Know what you really want.

Think about what you want to achieve in your career – and why. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • As a senior executive would you be willing to work long hours and take up extra responsibilities?
  • Do you like to solve complex problems?
  • Are you comfortable as a leader?
  • And, crucially, how do your family feel about you pursuing a career as a business leader?

2. Develop a career plan.

Determine what you want to achieve, and work out a detailed career plan. This will be a blueprint that maps out your journey to the top of your organisation, allowing you to focus on your ultimate career goals.

3. Work continuously on your leadership skills.

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process and an essential element for women pursuing a management position. By developing your technical, managerial and social skills, you are more likely to climb the corporate ladder – and be better prepared for the challenges you face along the way.

4. Communicate (more) directly.

Well-developed communication skills are essential for all managers. Yet men and women often have different communication styles.

Women usually take on a more modest tone, and often tend to communicate in an assuming way (“wouldn’t it be better”, “could we perhaps”, etc.). However, for a male audience – who usually communicate in a more direct way – this style of communication can suggest you lack confidence or are unsure about the matter at hand.

5. Take risks.

Women are usually less inclined to take risks than men. Yet this is part of being a leader. If you can prove you are willing to take calculated, carefully considered risks, you’re more likely to assume a managerial position.

6. Offer to take on certain tasks, even those nobody else wants.

A willingness to take on additional projects or raise your hand for tasks that others are sidestepping, can showcase your skills beyond your normal job duties. This is a great way to demonstrate you’re a team player, who is willing to go the extra mile for the company.

7. Do not be afraid to stand out.

All great leaders stand out from the crowd. As a manager, it’s likely you will have to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions, so be prepared to set yourself apart from others in good times – and in bad.

8. Build your network.

People like to work with people they know. So do not underestimate the possibilities offered by traditional and online networking. Building your network can be important to getting ahead.

About The Author

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors.

By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts. Here are 8 tips to help women grow their career