Extreme minimalism: 7 ways to go beyond the basics of minimalist living
If you desire to test the bounds of your willpower or need a more forceful solution to life's complexities, here's how to employ extreme minimalism.
Asceticism and minimalism are often used interchangeably when they shouldn't be, as they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While minimalism means being intentional about what you indulge in, asceticism is the avoidance of all indulgence.
Yet, if you are specifically seeking ideas to help you practice more extreme forms of self-discipline, then you may want to borrow ideas from different types of ascetic practices and see how they work for you.
7 extreme minimalism tips
There are a range of activities you can engage in to amplify your extreme minimalist lifestyle. In this guide to extreme minimalism we cover seven of the most popular tactics.
Fasting is one of the most popular forms of self-denial and is used as a means of self-control for both secular and spiritual purposes.
Since gluttony and obesity, and their associated diseases, are serious epidemics, fasting is also regarded as a legitimate solution to over-indulgence in food.
A promising body of research suggests that intermittent fasting — skipping one or more meals during a specific period — may lead to a host of health benefits.
In a society where "sex sells", provocative messaging is used in both overt and subtle ways to influence behavior.
It is believed that this exploitation of human sensitivity to sexual imagery has many adverse effects on an individual, familial and societal level.
Abstinence, or purposely going without intimacy for a prolonged period of time, is a feasible way to combat this practice.
Not only is it the sold method to 100% avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but it can also help you make more mindful dating decisions, heal from prior relationship setbacks, support your moral beliefs and focus on your personal goals.
There has been a general decline in alcohol consumption amongst younger generations, while sales of non-alcoholic drink alternatives have been on the rise.
The desire for control seems to be an underlying factor driving this trend. That is, control over one's health, behavior and social image.
Since overdrinking not only harms your health, but can potentially lead to alcoholism and actions that can ruin your reputation, it's no wonder that sobriety is being embraced.
Research has even shown that going dry for just a month has lasting benefits such as more money, more energy, better skin and weight loss.
You can also link your extreme minimalism practice to selflessness and the concern for another's welfare.
Altruism means that you give up significant resources, particularly time, effort and money, in other to support others.
A great way to start, which ties quite well into the concept of minimalism, is by donating things you don't want or need to someone who could benefit from it.
That way you are creating space for yourself while simultaneously supporting someone in need.
Drastically reducing your environmental footprint is also an effective way to practice extreme minimalism.
You may have already come across examples of people only owning 15 items of clothing, living out of a small backup while traveling or refusing to patron non-ethical brands.
These are all forms of sustainability because they reduce reliance on consumption which, when done en masse, slows down the industrial production which is negatively impacting the environment.
One of the trendiest forms of sustainability is the off-the-grid concept, which means you reduce or completely eliminate reliance on public utilities, especially electricity.
By choosing to be more self-reliant, or dependent on natural and sustainable energy forms such as solar panels, you can contribute to the global environmental friendliness movement.
Going on a spiritual or moral expedition, such as the El Camino de Santiago journey, is another effective means of practicing extreme minimalism.
When you embark on a pilgrimage, you are forced to leave everything behind and typically travel on foot to your targeted destination.
In many cases it is a long and strenuous path that forces mindfulness, reflection and awareness — all important tenets of the minimalism philosophy.
Finally, living on substantially reduced spending is perhaps the most well known form of extreme minimalism.
There are no shortage of blogs and books that tout the economic benefits of living on less. So if personal finance is an area of complexity for you, this could be an interesting tactic to try.
While frugality is inherent in all of the aforementioned extreme minimalism tips, you can also practice it alone.
Do some research and compile a list of frugal living ideas that resonate, then start implementing them one by one.
Many believe that asceticism is a level of self-discipline that leads to profound enlightenment. Perhaps, but that doesn't have to be your goal.
You may practice extreme minimalism because you are trying to get a handle on a particularly challenging area of life, want to strengthen your self-discipline or willpower or just out of curiosity.
These activities are acceptable to engage in so long as you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it — and don’t foresee negative effects on your physical, psychological, or mental well-being as a result.