The Science of Simplicity: 20 Minimalism Health Benefits
Have you ever tried hunting for your keys in a junk drawer that’s less of a ‘drawer’ and more of a ‘black hole’?
We’ve all been there.
Drowning in physical, digital, and mental clutter, swimming in a sea of ‘stuff,’ and let’s not even get started on that one closet everyone’s afraid to open.
But what if I told you decluttering wasn’t just about saving you from rogue socks and missing remotes?
In today’s article, I will explore the ‘Science of Simplicity.’
Spoiler alert: Minimalism isn’t just good for tidier homes.
So this article will share 20 minimalism health benefits, even lab-coat pros, and people with reason nod at.
While I draw many of these health benefits from scientific studies and research on related topics (like clutter affecting attention or the relationship between clutter and stress), some of the points I list are also based on logical extensions of minimalistic principles.
So, let’s dive in…
14 Health Benefits of Minimalism Directly Backed by Science
Let’s start with the 14 health benefits of Minimalism directly backed by science.
Remember, the field of Minimalism, notably its health benefits, is still an area where more research can be conducted.
So, while the various points below have direct or closely related studies backing them, as with any lifestyle choice, individual experiences may vary.
They don’t necessarily “prove” Minimalism as the sole or primary cause of those benefits.
1) Clearer Mind
You may know that feeling when you walk into a cluttered room, and your mind suddenly feels overwhelmed.
There’s a reason for that.
Princeton University suggests in this article that clutter competes for your attention, making it harder for you to focus.
Think of your brain like a computer.
Too many files open?
It slows down.
A minimalist approach is like closing those extra tabs.
Reducing the clutter around you means your mind isn’t constantly pulled in different directions.
A clearer, sharper mind ready to tackle tasks with ease. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that mental clarity?
It’s like a breath of fresh air for your brain.
2) Increased Levels of Well-Being
Have you ever noticed that tension in your shoulders when surrounded by mess?
It’s not just in your head.
Clutter is like background noise for your brain.
This study found that clutter directly links to decreased well-being.
While not exclusively about Minimalism, the principles of orderliness are inherent in a minimalist lifestyle.
And when you declutter, you’re not just tossing stuff; you’re creating order, which promotes clear thinking.
Your mind mirrors this organization as you place each item in its rightful spot.
The chaos of jumbled thoughts begins to untangle.
The strain of constantly searching for misplaced items?
Instead, you’re met with a sense of calm and predictability.
With every organized drawer or cleared counter, you’re subtly reassuring your brain: “Everything’s in place.”
This orderliness, in turn, cultivates a sense of peace, elevating your overall mental well-being.
3) Better Sleep
According to a study (no direct source mentioned, though) cited in the Daily Mail, a cluttered bedroom can disrupt sleep.
Imagine trying to sleep while someone keeps poking you.
That’s what clutter does but to your brain.
Your mind can truly rest when your bedroom is a sanctuary, free from unnecessary stuff.
Minimalism clears out the clutter and makes space for peace.
By doing that, you can increase your chances of restful sleep significantly.
4) Reduced Screen Time
A minimalist lifestyle often extends to digital decluttering.
As you lean into Minimalism, you assess not just stuff but how you spend time.
Naturally, you begin to question those hours lost to screens.
And when you prioritize real-world experiences with the help of digital Minimalism, screen time dips.
So, conversely, less screen time can be linked to better sleep and mood.
5) Reduced Depression
So, here’s a thing that might surprise you.
That pile of clutter in your living room?
It could be doing more than just collecting dust.
This study found that cluttered homes were linked to increased cortisol levels in women—a stress hormone connected to depression.
It’s like your surroundings echoing back feelings of being overwhelmed or stuck.
It’s the big red STOP button.
By trimming down the excess and embracing a simpler space, you’re not just tidying up; you’re actively pushing back against those feelings of overwhelm.
So, as you can see here, Minimalism isn’t just about less stuff but more mental freedom and lighter emotional baggage.
6) Enhanced Memory
A cluttered environment can also mess with your memory.
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack—distracting and frustrating.
This article from Standford University suggests that multitasking (like juggling clutter) could impair your memory.
With Minimalism, you strip away the non-essential, making it easier for your brain to process information.
If you want to dig deeper into that, read my article “How Digital Minimalism Makes Deep Work Happening.”
Now, imagine turning that haystack into a neatly organized drawer.
Fewer distractions mean your brain can recall stuff more effectively.
In short, by going minimalist, you’re giving your memory a little boost.
7) Reduced Attachment to Materialism
Constantly craving the next big thing?
It might not be doing wonders for your well-being.
This paper has highlighted that materialism can lead to decreased life satisfaction and increased stress.
Now, what happens when we put Minimalism into the mix?
It’s a gentle reminder that happiness isn’t found in the next shopping spree.
By embracing Minimalism, you shift your focus from “stuff” to experiences and relationships.
You’re training your brain to find joy in the intangible and lasting.
Less anxiety about the next must-have item and a richer, more contented soul.
8) Less Decision Fatigue and Increased Happiness
Every day, you’re bombarded with decisions, from what to wear to what to eat.
It’s exhausting, right? Science agrees.
There’s this phenomenon called decision fatigue.
The more choices you make, the more your brain gets tired, making poor decisions later.
It’s backed up by studies like the famous “paradox of choice.”
Now, when you apply Minimalism, you simplify your environment and choices. What happens?
You give your brain a break—fewer options = less mental drain.
It’s like choosing between three ice cream flavors instead of thirty.
With Minimalism, you streamline your day and, in turn, give your decision-making muscles a breather.
9) Improved Physical Health
Could a neat home be the key to enhanced health?
Studies suggest individuals in organized homes are more physically active and enjoy better health than those in cluttered spaces.
Whether a tidy space prompts more activity or active folks, prefer tidiness is still up in the air.
Either way, it seems giving your space a good declutter and dust-off might just be a recipe for feeling sprightlier.
10) Nutritious Nibbles
Along with boosting physical activity, a streamlined home might just steer you towards better eating habits.
This study revealed folks in orderly spaces gravitated towards healthier snacks.
Meanwhile, those in cluttered rooms?
They had a penchant for chocolate bars over apples by more than double.
So, keen on munching healthier?
Giving your space a declutter might be a tasty starting point.
11) Enhanced Relationships
According to the CDC, quality social time boosts mental health.
And an orderly environment isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s a backdrop for flourishing relationships.
When you maintain an organized space, you unconsciously reduce the distractions and tensions often caused by mess.
This means fewer disagreements over misplaced items or clutter-induced stress.
Step by step, as your environment becomes more welcoming, it encourages meaningful conversations and quality time without the interference of chaos.
The simplicity of a tidy space allows for a deeper focus on one another, fostering understanding and connection.
In essence, by crafting a harmonious space, you’re setting the stage for harmonious relationships.
12) Enhanced Creativity Boosting Brain Health
With Minimalism, you strip away distractions, creating a serene environment.
This decluttered space, step by step, fosters focused thinking.
As external chaos diminishes, your mind finds room to wander and innovate.
This creative stimulation, studies suggest, boosts brain health, promoting cognitive flexibility and mental well-being.
13) Increased Gratitude
Having less might lead to more appreciation.
As you embrace Minimalism, the excess disappears, leaving only what truly matters.
With fewer distractions, you begin to appreciate what you have.
According to this article published in Harvard Medical School, gratitude can improve mental health.
So, by trimming down, you’re not just simplifying. You’re amplifying gratitude and well-being.
14) Greater Flexibility Boosting Stress Resilience
By choosing Minimalism, you free yourself from excess baggage.
This lightness allows you to adapt quickly to life’s curveballs.
With fewer possessions tethering you, decision-making becomes swifter.
And here’s a perk: this paper found flexibility boosting stress resilience.
To put it differently, mental flexibility can shield you against stress.
6 Health Benefits of Minimalism by Logical Extension
1) Fewer Allergens
By adopting Minimalism, you inherently reduce household items.
Fewer items mean less surface area for dust and allergens to settle.
And regular decluttering further reduces these particles.
So, over time, this streamlined environment leads to cleaner air, significantly reducing allergens and promoting healthier respiratory conditions step by step.
2) Elevated Mood
When you apply minimalism principles, you will shed excess, reducing mental clutter.
As your space becomes more open and clear, so does your mindset.
This decluttered environment translates to fewer stressors, making room for positivity.
The resulting calm and order directly lift and elevate your overall mood.
In addition, fewer items often mean less to clean.
That directly translates to fewer cleaning hours, freeing up time for you.
And more leisure time is a great mood booster.
3) Increased Mindfulness
As you declutter, you become more intentional about what stays.
And each choice roots you in the present moment.
This intentional living can gradually evolve into mindfulness, which is well known for reducing anxiety and boosting mood.
So, again, Minimalism isn’t just about space.
It’s shaping a present-focused mind.
4) Increased Physical Agility
With Minimalism applied to physical spaces, you usually declutter spaces, making room to move.
Suddenly, that yoga mat isn’t buried under clutter, or there’s space for a morning stretch or a dance session with your partner.
This accessibility nudges you into more physical activity.
5) Resilience Boost
Hop on this thought train: Minimalism teaches you to value essentials and let go of the excess.
Over time, facing change or loss becomes easier as you’ve mastered detachment.
This adaptability builds resilience.
Resilient individuals have lower stress and depression.
So, you could consider Minimalism as your emotional armor upgrade.
6) Enhanced Self-Esteem
Minimalism is also a conscious choice to value yourself over the chaos of excess.
So, as you let go of unnecessary possessions, you realize your worth isn’t tied to materialism.
Moving forward, each decision to keep or let go reinforces your ability to take control, asserting personal agency.
With fewer items demanding your attention, you can focus on personal growth and self-improvement.
Gradually, as your space reflects this newfound clarity, you witness your capability to shape your environment.
In doing so, you’re also crafting a stronger, more confident self-image.
Minimalism, thus, can become a pathway to enhanced self-esteem.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.