Category Archives: Relationships


What is minimalism? The quick answer is that it’s all about simplifying everything in your life until the point you can handle everything on your plate. It’s about not dumping copious amounts of activities, ‘things’ and commitments on your table until it looks like a Christmas dinner for twenty. If you can only eat one plate, just have one plate. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people take on more and more, thinking they can handle everything, but feeling stressed or burnt out everyday from the weight of it all.

Simplicity is about reducing aspects of your life until you can handle everything on your plate. It’s not dumping copious amounts of activities, ‘things’ and commitments on your table until it looks like a Christmas dinner for twenty. If you can only eat one plate, just have one plate. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people take on more and more, thinking they can handle everything, but feeling stressed and burnt out every day from carrying the weight of it all.
The first step is about commitments. Commitments are extra things that take up your time outside what is absolutely essential, such as your course.

Fresher’s week usually includes a Fresher’s Fair which is when new students are bombarded with freebies and encouraged to join as many clubs and societies as they can. A lot of students think ‘this sounds like fun’ then they pay the joining fee and sign up. However, if you sign up with too many, you’ll be stuck with a pretty full schedule over the course of a week or month, and you might not be able to keep up with all of the meetings and extra work that comes with it. After a while, many students find themselves making excuses because of too much work, and then feeling guilty about their name being on the register but them never actually being there.

Of course it is very important that you join some societies, and try new things, after all they’re a great way to make friends and try out new things, but if you apply this kind of principle to other aspects, such as going out every night because a dorm party ‘sounds like fun’ or a fancy dress party ‘looks like it’ll be cool’ then soon you’re in the same situation with too many commitments and too little time.

Take a moment to think about some of the commitments you have in your life right now, or ones you will sign up for in the future. Are you able to fit them into your life? What will happen when your workload increases (like during exam times), do you have enough room to comfortably fit them in? Which commitments are absolutely essential and which are not?

Step back and recognise if and where you are being stretched too thin. If you’re finding yourself doing too much just cut it out, you’ll feel less stressed and more relieved.

Positive mindfulness – how to be grateful for the good things in life

2013 was undeniably my best year so far. In the last twelve months, I have lived in three different cities, ran a marathon, graduated, moved to Japan, and got my dream job. 13 really is my lucky number.

If only I had more to remember it by…

Well, I’m not going to make the same mistake next year. My new year’s resolution will be short and sweet – to be grateful for the good things in life.

It’s easy to let one bad thing ruin a good day. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of the good things we have to realise how lucky we are. I like to call it ‘positive mindfulness’.

There are so many things that can brighten up our day. A smile from a stranger, trying something new, seeing old friends, a challenging task, giving to others, a fulfilling job, a partner’s affection, overcoming an obstacle, finishing something, family gatherings, learning a new skill, a good workout, a genuine hug… the list goes on.

Almost everything that makes us truly happy in life doesn’t cost a thing. We just have to be mindful of them. Here are some ideas…

Three practical ways to stay positively mindful next year

1. Keep a ‘Gratitude Box’

Find a shoebox or something similar and place a notepad beside it. Every time something good happens to you, or if you feel particularly grateful for something, write a note about it, along with the date, and pop it in the box. Try to write one thing a day, or at least a couple a week.

At the end of next year, hopefully you’ll have a box stuffed full of notes… and hopefully reading back on them will make you smile/cry/laugh.

2. Make an ‘Amazing Day Collage’

Make a colourful collage or simply write a few post-it notes of all of the the things you can think of that would make your day. Stick them somewhere that you’ll see every morning. The notes will remind you of what to keep an eye out for throughout your day.

You’re more likely to notice the good things if you’ve been reminded to look out for them. Add more as you notice new things that make you smile.

3. One second of every day of 2014

This is such a simple idea. It’s a video showing just one second of everyday in a man’s life. Just as he saw it, just as it happened.

It inspires me to do the same. Some might think that recording their lives is an invasion of privacy, but personally, I have such a weak memory that I would be more grateful, rather than paranoid, if I could recall all of the lovely memories I made this year. Also, I don’t have to share it publicly, and I don’t get up to that much mischief anyway!

At the same time, some moments are made to be enjoyed, not photographed. In any case, whether or not I decide to record the moment, the most important thing is that I’m having fun.

Do you have any suggestions to stay positively mindful next year? Let me know in the comments.

Happy New Year folks!

When Minimalism Matters Most

This is what practising minimalism has taught us from the beginning, that life is not about impressing others with your fancy clothes. Your net worth isn’t your life worth. Sure, it’s easy enough to agree in principle, but many of us dedicate our lives to doing exactly this—getting into debt or working long hours at jobs we hate to earn money to pay off the credit cards for things that don’t actually add value to our lives.

You don’t have to live like a monk, or go backpacking around the world, everyone has their own happy medium. Most people live on autopilot, going about their cycles of hedonic adaptation without stopping to question what kinds of things are most worthwhile. Unfortunately they don’t realise they’ve wasted their life until the very end, by then it’s too late to do anything about it.

If we’re lucky and open minded enough to discover minimalism before we’re near death, then we can count ourselves in the fortunate minority. Starting today, we can make wiser decisions on how we will spend our limited lives so that when we reach the end, if there is one thing we will have, it’ll be fewer regrets.

There’s No Such Thing As Karma

…at least, not in the way that most people think of it.

There isn’t some cosmic accountant who keeps track of all the good and bad things that you do, then deals out rewards and punishment in accordance.

You can’t ‘build up good karma’ for doing something nice, and you can’t call karma a bitch because something bad happened to you.

Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. No one is keeping score for you.

There is some good news. The principle of karma actually refers to the causes and effects of your actions—although you can’t control everything that happens to you, you can influence it.

If you choose to be selfish, rude, or mean (yes, it is a choice) you may get away with it at first, but when it comes to people, what goes around comes around. Don’t be surprised if people are selfish, rude, or mean towards you.

If you choose to be generous, kind, and forgiving, people will remember that. And when the time comes when you need their help, you won’t be alone. Be giving because you want to create a better environment to live in, not because you want to build up your ‘karma points’ and bank on some future reward.

Whether or not you believe in heaven and hell in the afterlife, cause and effect is something that’s happening to you right now. Your decisions today affect your life tomorrow.

The saying is true, you reap what you sow.