Applying Minimalism to the Mind

We think. It’s what we do. Even Shakespeare noted, “I think, therefore I am.” Everyday, our minds process thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of ideas, choices, and decisions. Inevitably, there comes a point where the mind can become clouded and stifled by the chaos of it all – pros and cons, likes and dislikes, if this and that, what if’s and why’s.

Over time, I’ve started to see that incorporating more minimalism doesn’t just apply to material things. It also applies to thought.

When our minds go overboard, even the most trivial of thoughts can become intensely burdening, manifesting themselves into a crippling weight that we can physically feel. These moments of heavy thought – be it an idea, a choice, a decision, or so forth can add copious amounts of stress, anxiety, and even depression into our lives. The more we allow these thoughts to grow and fester, the more time and energy they will continue to consume.

Applying minimalism to the mind revolves around the concept of letting go of thoughts or ideas that do not serve us and focusing the mind on the things that do. It means asking the question, “What do we WANT to think about?”

This inquiry is a deceptively daunting task, requiring a DEEP self reflection of who we are, our goals, and our desires for our lives. What is it that we enjoy? What is it that we are skilled at? What is it that we want to see ourselves doing in five, ten, or even more years? And once our lives are over, what will we have wanted to have done?

For some, the answer to this question may be simple. For others, it may continuously change.

For myself, it boils down to a focus in three areas:

  • Health (Physical, Mental, and Emotional)
  • Capturing and sharing as many memories as possible and in the best way possible (Through Video, Photos, and Written Word)
  • Helping to create and build upon my partner’s passions (Woodworking and Kira)

I do want to stress that answering this question may not be a simple task. It is an endeavor that may take many years of hardship to unveil – full of pain, trial and error, and littered with false starts and journeys you might have been convinced was “your path”. But discovering and understanding what we do want to focus on brings forth a lot of peace and flexibility. You can adapt to situations and change directions in an instant – as long as your thoughts stay aligned with your focuses.

So what about you? What is it that you want to think about?

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