Ascension Behavioral Health

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Minimalism - Netflix

"That's really what minimalism is about. It's about living deliberately."

First movie review is here! This documentary (now on Netflix) came out in 2015 and it follows two men (with cameos from others) who made a conscious choice to commit to a life reduced of "stuff," and invited the world along their journey. They recognized that with "stuff," they were still unhappy, depressed, unfulfilled, anxious, etc. and the less they had in/of their external world, the greater intrinsic happiness they felt. Different plots of the film included talking to people who live in those cute little (literally) & amazingly efficient tiny houses--(think less than 500 sq. ft.), following their nationwide tour sharing the impact of minimalism on a personal and global scale, looking at some dilemmas of modern consumerism and dispelling some myths about what it means to be a minimalist. They share pretty heartfelt stories of their own traumas and how these experiences have an impact on how they want to live. 

 

"By getting rid of these things in our lives, these material items & all this excess we're used to living in, good things happen."

 

The film also provides several consumer statistics and imagery on just how much $$ we spend on THINGS. All kinds of things for home, office, leisure. And...whoa! There are more trends in minimizing, decluttering, tidying up, and downsizing our lives in order to expand our experiences, but it seems like on a whole, this message isn't hitting the masses and doesn't remain a stable habit for most. We declutter during specific seasons i.e. spring cleaning, or when we are transitioning to somewhere/something else i.e. the moving purge, but it's not a consistent pattern of less. It's a pendulum of more, then less, then back to more, and less again when we're done with things we once loved.

 

"We're ruminating about past and future in a way that keeps us from really connecting to the present moment in a way that values it as good enough. Meditation is a technique of finding well being in the present moment, before anything happens."

 

This part! I was so happy to see examples of minimizing internally. To practice centering yourself and navigating your needs more effectively by gaining clarity. By slowing down. Reducing noise. By even just...stopping. Asking yourself, "Is this useful?" when your head is spinning with thoughts. Of course, I wanted to see more emphasis on managing anxiety & panic and using more mindfulness meditation techniques, but this is concise enough for a takeaway lesson, so I can appreciate it!

Overall, I really enjoyed the film, seeing as how I've watched it 2.5 times now...) and was reminded of ways that I can continue focus my life and my work better when I clear things out. Thoughts on minimalism? Seen Minimalism on Netflix? Practice minimalism? Feel free to make a comment!  Til next time - Dr. A