Find Clarity with the Minimalist Approach to Health
Let’s discuss the minimalist approach to health today.
So, imagine if health was like cleaning your room.
Instead of tons of toys and clothes everywhere, you just have your favorite ones.
It’s easier, right?
Just like that, when we keep health simple, it’s easier to feel good and stay happy.
Why juggle ten things when just a few can make a big difference?
Let’s dive into this simple way of looking at health. It’s like giving your body a breath of fresh air.
First, Let’s Define Health
On MedicalNewsToday, a great definition from the World Health Organization is mentioned.
It’s “the state of complete emotional, mental, and physical well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
While the link to the original WHO source isn’t working anymore, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great definition of health.
And How Can You Improve Your Health?
Considering the definition above, you can improve your health by using proven methods to improve your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Regarding mental and emotional well-being (being able to cope with and manage emotions and the ability to think clearly and make good decisions), it’s the following, according to the National Institute of Health and MedlinePlus:
- Building resilience
- Reducing stress
- Getting quality sleep
- Being mindful (here we also have a minimalist principle LINK)
- Coping with loss
- Strengthening social connections and connecting with others
- Practicing gratitude
- Staying positive
- Taking care of your physical health (it’s connected to your mental and emotional health)
- Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life
When it comes to physical well-being, it’s this according to the National Institute of Health…
- Moving more and sitting less
- Keeping your body at a healthy weight
- Building muscle (as a biased fitness nerd, this is, of course, my favorite)
- Minding metabolism changes
- Eating a healthy diet
- Building healthy habits
What Does “Minimalism” Mean When It Comes to Health?
Minimalism in health would mean applying one or more well-known minimalism principles to health.
You likely won’t apply all of them but rather use them.
Not all will give you the same minimalism effect. But I will come to that in the next section.
First, to refresh the memory, here are the minimalism principles again in short form…
- Simplicity (focusing on the essential)
- Appreciation of what you already have
- Quality over quantity
- Living in the present (mindfulness)
How to Apply Minimalism to Health in a Minimalistic Way
To apply Minimalism to health, you want to apply the above minimalist principles to the mentioned health improvement tactics.
So what I did is I married the two lists from above.
But I didn’t do it messily. I ordered it.
How did I order it?
I asked myself which minimalist principles make the most sense to apply to which health improvement tactics.
And this is the result…
Here we go:
Applying Simplicity (Focusing on the Essential) to Taking Care of Your Physical Health
Health doesn’t have to be complicated.
When you boil it down, health is all about eating right, moving your body, and resting.
Think of it like your favorite sandwich: just a few good ingredients, and you have perfection.
Applying Living in the Present (Mindfulness) to Meditation, Being Mindful, and Staying Positive
Why this application?
All these actions are about being in the moment.
Whether chilling out with meditation or focusing on the good stuff with positivity and gratitude, it’s all about enjoying the here and now.
Applying Quality over Quantity to Building Muscle and Eating a Healthy Diet
Why this application?
Like you’d pick one awesome toy over ten not-so-fun ones, it’s better to have quality workouts and nutritious meals than many ineffective exercises or junk food.
Speaking of ineffective exercises, as a fitness nerd, I must tell you this…
Just look the next time in the gym and count the people lifting weights, putting true intensity into one set (Mike Mentzer style).
You will be shocked how few truly put quality over quantity. Most are doing cardio by lifting weights in terms of intensity.
Applying Appreciation of What You Already Have to Practice Gratitude
This one’s a no-brainer and directly overlaps between a health improvement tactic and a minimalist principle.
Both are about being thankful for the good stuff in life.
It’s like being happy with your favorite shoes, even if they’re not the newest.
Applying Intentionality to Building Resilience and Developing a Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life
Why this application?
This is about choosing your path and sticking with it, even when it gets tough.
It’s like deciding to finish a puzzle and not stopping till it’s done.
Applying Clarity to Reducing Stress and Coping with Loss
Why apply the minimalist principle of clarity to reducing stress and coping with loss?
When life gets messy, having a clear mind is essential (greetings to the stoics).
It’s like cleaning your room so you can think better.
Applying Sustainability to Building Healthy Habits
Why this application?
Healthy habits are like a plant.
Keep watering them. Give ’em some sunshine, and they’ll grow.
Sustainability is all about making choices that last, just like sticking with good habits.
So, by combining the neat ideas of Minimalism with the health improvement tactics, you get a super roadmap to feeling great.
Now, let’s get even more minimalistic.
Let’s also ask which minimalist principles would be the most effective to apply to all the health improvement tactics.
And in my opinion, it’s simplicity (focusing on the essential).
It’s about “decluttering” your approach to health and emphasizing quality over quantity.
Concentrating on the foundational elements of health can bypass the distractions and confusion brought about by the plethora of options available today.
And one great heuristic you can use to help find the essential is the 80/20 principle.
This principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, posits that approximately 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Applying this principle would suggest that you can achieve most of your health benefits by focusing on a few key tactics in the context of health improvement.
Given the tactics listed above, here are the most essential ones based on the 80/20 principle.
Diet: Nutrition is foundational to health.
The foods you consume influence your physical health, energy levels, mental clarity, and emotional well-being.
A well-balanced, whole-foods-based diet can have ripple effects across all areas of health, addressing issues like weight management, mood regulation, and disease prevention.
Exercise: Regular physical activity shapes your body and profoundly affects the mind.
Even simple exercises can boost your mood, improve cardiovascular health, increase longevity, and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases.
Sleep: Quality sleep is a cornerstone of good health.
It’s when your body and mind repair, regenerate and reset.
Consistent, restful sleep impacts your mood, cognitive function, metabolism, and immune response, among other vital functions.
Sure, other areas like mental health practices, supplementation, and stress management are undeniably important.
However, diet, exercise, and sleep are arguably the “big three.”
By getting these right, you address a multitude of health facets.
The remaining tactics, representing 80%, can provide specialized benefits and fine-tune your health journey.
Still, they might not offer as broad or foundational an impact as the primary three.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.