Drinking Only Water

I write a lot about sticking to only water, but it’s a minimalist tip that does not get enough emphasis, seeing that it is the one that has changed my life the most!  One of the biggest benefits of only sticking to water is a lot less recycling – no cleaning out containers, no extra cost while eating out.  I finally put a filter directly on the water faucet because I actually like my water to be room temperature and this also frees up fridge space!  But an added benefit of having a filter directly on the faucet is that it’s easier to change out the marimo water.

Getting organic tea leaves or organic dairy, while highly advised, is very pricy and resource intensive.  Clean water is very affordable.

I wanted to reiterate the benefits of drinking primarily room temperature water:

  • most healthy
  • most affordable
  • a lot less kitchenware required
  • acid wears at tooth enamel – lemon, tomato juice
  • high sugar intake is linked to two of the top killers in the U.S.: heart disease and cancer
  • ice bins in most restaurants are not clean
  • bone broths have a naturally occurring form of MSG
  • dairy makes breathing more difficult and can cause migraines and is also expensive
  • no containers to recycle or clean out
  • no waste (pour old water into plants)
  • easy to carry in groceries

In light of minimalism, I do not track the fluid ounces I take.  I just listen to my body.



The Diderot Effect

The Diderot effect is a phenomenon in which one purchase leads to another.  For instance, if we buy one expensive pair of shoes, it could possibly lead to upgrading other parts of our wardrobe to match, or it could lead to the purchase of a skirt that would go perfectly with it.   The Diderot effect is most commonly seen in regards to wardrobe.

For me, the Diderot effect presents itself when it comes to cooking.  If you find a new recipe, it will often require the purchase of new pantry ingredients.  Ideas often lead to a purchase. Sometimes it is better to keep things at a high-quality level and stick to 7-10 recipes, than to constantly switch it up at home.  I do like variety, but not to an extreme, and therefore, every meal comes out at a high quality, every ingredient is consumed in a reasonable time, yielding the best flavor.  Trying new things at home can lead to an ever expanding pantry and many expired ingredients, and if the recipe doesn’t work out, then the spice can take up space just for a “someday.”

This is just something to think about: To be mindful of when one purchase will require another and to think about the ways that we can maximize the joy out of life with what we already have.

Comprehensive Favorites of a Minimalist

Here are the items I’ve found that work for me really well, as a minimalist.  I’ve been asked many times to make a conclusive list of the items that I use and love. I’ve left out any items that I’m still searching for a great option.  If I’ve missed something or a link doesn’t work, let me know in the comments.  I will tweak and update this list over time, but I will leave the links down below in a clearly delineated section when I phase anything out.
My thought process when finding these items: convenience, quality, aesthetic, price.  For each of these items, I’ve tried at least 2-3 other brands.  For instance, for the cordless vacuum, I also tried the Roomba and the Dyson vacuum and decided on the Shark Navigator.  For shower curtain rings, reusable bags, and many other items, I’ve gone through the same process.  I will never add anything to this list that I’ve recently bought because I haven’t had adequate time to determine the quality.
I try to buy everything online as much as possible to avoid errands, spending gas money, and impulse purchases. 

Reasons for product reviews:
less wasted resources
less wasted time


toilet paper 
Note: I am in love with mega rolls!  Less cardboard waste, less time spent stacking rolls and changing them out!
paper towels 
Note: I always stick with name brand for cotton swabs.
light bulbs – Target
Note: I never buy LED because LED is less restful to the eyes.
organic pads
pink earplugs (for small ears)
tan earplugs (for normal ears)
Note: I use the pink earplugs.

Eco-friendly items:

reusable paper towels
reusable cotton rounds (Etsy)
Note: They discolor.

glass straws 
Note: Recommended to rinse straw out after drinking a smoothie.
Amazon mini snack bags (that don’t leak)
Blue Avocado reusable clear bags
Envirosax reusable blue shopping bags
Planet Wise makeup bags
titanium spork

Amazon battery charger
Amazon AA eight batteries
Amazon AAA four batteries
AA to C adapters (for Luminara candles)
AA to D adapters
Note: I don’t own any D batteries.


shoe boxes
Command clear hooks 
clear nubs
dream drawer dividers (dressers) 
cutting board organizer
mop and broom organizer
velcro strip (for TV remote)
nightstand cord clips: http://amzn.to/2j3GP5Z
acrylic shelves (for decor, shoes, trash)
plate organizer
can organizer
foil hooks
magnetic recipe holder
cord box
mini shelves (to suspend over stove or candles by bed frame)
steel utility cart (wheels can be removed)
over-the-door organizer options:
utility double shelf (in kitchen)
plastic bag holder (for Pat’s bags)
shallow sponge/dish holder (I use for toothbrush/paste)
paper towel holder 


lock-up containers
Samsonite suitcase
durable Solo backpack
OXO water bottle
Note: Still searching for another water bottle.
car trunk organizer

Cleaning Items:

magic eraser
OXO squeegee (for tub and couch)
Casabella Grout Brush ($8)
hydrogen peroxide
microfiber cloths
Windex bottles (for vinegar)
Note: For the containers only.
Seventh Generation unscented eco laundry detergent
Grab Green unscented eco laundry pods (clip coupon)
Method all-purpose
Note: Only necessary if kitchen/drains get really dirty.

Pat items:

Pat jelly bean bowl

Household items:

Ikea shower curtain rings
bamboo sheets
Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch
fairy lights
simplehuman bottle dispensers for bathtub
crystal soap dispenser in kitchen
cordless vacuum
simplehuman trash can with bags built in
silent Seiko clock
Amazon laundry rack
Luminara candle
Note: Not the exact ones I own.
Luminara candle remote

Kitchen items: 

Oxo dish brush 
Oxo pepper mill
clear place mats
OXO pop (4-quart for rice)
Progressive magnetic measuring spoons
Brita Everyday water pitcher
Brita filter refills
Oxo nylon spoon
Oxo pop scoop
Oxo 2-cup measuring cup
Oxo prep cutting board 7.5 x 10.5
EatSmart kitchen scale
Wilton Perfect Results muffin tin (half standard)
Oxo SteeL can opener
plate organizer
Oxo green-rimmed pour cutting board
Vitamix blender
Corelle 6-pack of plates
Corelle bowls
Bodum knife block
Wusthof Cook’s knife
sharpening steel (I use the 9-inch)
All Clad pan
my Crock-Pot
OXO mixing bowls
Cuisinart toaster
Oxo pop 4 qt
Oxo pop 2.4 qt
Oxo pop 1.7 qt
Oxo scooper for Oxo POPs


compact nippie pasties bra
women’s thermal socks
men’s thermal socks
purple Columbia jacket


Brother DS-620 Mobile Color Scanner (portable for paper clutter) 
G7X Mark II vlogging camera
Note: Primary feature is portability; it can’t compare to the Canon 80D in quality.
mouse/keyboard combo
Lenovo laptop I use for steno 
laptop for editing videos – Mac
Note: Make sure it’s the highest end of a Mac laptop you can afford because filming is extremely taxing on laptops.  I wouldn’t recommend the Mac Air for editing.
Canon 80D 
Note: I do not recommend the 70D as it heats up, but I like the 80D because you can flip the LCD screen, which really comes in handy to make sure things are in the frame while filming. 
Rode microphone 
4 Terabyte My Passport Hard Drive
Amazon camera tripod
Canon remote control 
Note: I use the sun currently to film.

Personal products:

Z makeup palette
unscented floss
hair straightener
favorite menstrual cup
Note:  Long stem, easy to remove.
The Wonder Seed shampoo
The Wonder Seed conditioner
Mason Pearson detangler brush
Pangea organic lip balm
Tom of Maine’s toothpaste in Clean Mint
Wonder Seed orange jasmine shampoo
Neutrogena Clear Skin SPF 30
Josie Maran light argan oil 1.7 oz
Note: Favorite for hair as conditioner or with flat iron, and for face as night cream.
Merlot grape face cream
favorite highlighter
favorite bronzer
white plant containers – Lowe’s
clear cups – Target


couch – La-Z-Boy
clear stool with cushion, blankets living room, clear and blue lamp, wood mirror, Emery ivory curtains, night stand – Pottery Barn
dresser, star mirror, table – West Elm
white desk – Staples, spray painted
dresser living room – painted 
headboard white velvet (Etsy)
real olive oil
arrowroot powder (instead of cornstarch)
peppermint oil

Still searching for:

water bottle 
waffle weave towel

Items that I love, but no longer need:

OXO medium mixing bowl
Note: I have the set.
reuseable toaster bags
Yannic baking spatulas
Oxo measuring cups set
wipes dispenser
Batiste dry shampoo
Carol’s Daughter leave-in detangler
favorite leggings
GoToob bottles
favorite eco jasmine lotion
Note: I use the sweet water scent now.
ceramic ramekins (muffin tin alternative)
shoe organizer

Note: These are links I gathered through Amazon, which help my channel and blog, but every item was bought with my own money.

Top Organizing Tips

Here are my top minimalist organizing tips, to save money and time!  It took me years to learn these.  Many mistakes later, I’m here to cut to the chase for you.  Most of these are with your future self in mind.  What I do is always with the future in mind.  Living like this is efficient, allowing maximum time for the three things that matter to all of us: improvement, health, and relationships.

Organizing with the future in mind makes moving easy and cleaning easy, but more than that, excellent systems are adaptable.  This is important because life is transitory; simple systems move smoothly from one house and decade to the next.

1. Declutter first.

If you declutter after, you will have to declutter the containers or find a new use for them, and both is time-consuming.  Declutter your pantry and recipes especially before organizing the kitchen.

2. Use multi-purpose containers.

Don’t use specialty containers as much as possible.  If you do declutter what is in them, then you can easily use it for something else — or if you donate it, someone can easily find a use for it.   Specialty containers are likely to end in a landfill.

3. Go for clear.  

Clear containers are great because you don’t need labels to see what’s inside.  This saves resources and time!  Also, if you have fewer categories to organize, labels make less sense.  So decluttering first pays in big and small ways.

4. Elevate.

Your future self will thank you if you elevate everything that is high-use and left out.  You can clean with ease.  Velcro, Command strips, and a mini cordless drill are my best friends.  I have a video coming up on just things I’ve elevated indoors.  Almost everything can be elevated!  You can also make some furniture float: trash cans, night stands.

5. Hide everything.

It is better to hide something than to elevate it.  Whatever is out will still collect dust, even if it is not obstructing a work space that will need to be wiped often.   All you need is a drawer or clear box to hide something.

6. Lightweight is key for containers.

I’d rather have an opaque cardboard shoe box than a heavy glass container.  It will be so much easier to clean and move around in the future.  Boxes without a lot of words on them are a perfect candidate for storing things.

Most boxes aren’t structured or clean enough looking to use.  I never use the boxes that come from Amazon: I recycle them.  Phone, mp3, and shoe boxes are perfect to save.

Here are rules I keep for boxes:  I don’t use a box that doesn’t work well (too short or too big, for instance) just because I have it on hand.  I don’t keep boxes around for longer than a month if there is no use for it in that month.  Just-in-case rationale is a slippery slope, if efficiency, cleanliness, and minimalism are the objectives.

I hope these tips help you.  These are the guidelines I follow whenever organizing my place or someone else’s to save the most money and time, and they have served me well.



Bedroom: A Haven


The bedroom is my favorite place in the house. It is really where a person’s preferences shine because practicality and politeness do not need to be taken into account.

The bedroom is a personal place, and for most, the place where we spend the most time. It makes sense to maximize sensation, in the form of blankets, the grain in wood, and dim lighting.

Less Important:

Pillows. I still keep the regular two pillows, but I don’t care about decorative pillows because it makes making the bed into a longer chore and is more to care for. This is also why I don’t care about a second sheet.  (Simplify chores.) Guests don’t usually go into the bedroom, and the pillows do not express style more than art to me. This is all preference of course. It is your bedroom, to do with it what you would like.

Mirrors. This was one of my biggest mistakes in decorating: too many mirrors. Mirrors create a lot of housework, and especially in the bedroom, they reflect light that might come through the windows. Mirrors take more maintenance than artwork does, and if I’m getting ready, I’m in the bathroom, not bedroom. Also, expanding square footage visually and dispersing light, while great in all other rooms, makes the bedroom less intimate.  Huge bedrooms can have a similar effect as too many mirrors: It can make us feel less safe or less intimate — and they require more maintenance.

Plants. I don’t keep plants in the bedroom. This is because most plants give off carbon dioxide at night, not oxygen. Also, because my bedroom is white, I’d rather keep the plants to other high-traffic areas.


Lighting. Other than the mattress, lighting is the most important part of any bedroom. If you read in bed, you’ll need a lamp. Otherwise, you can get by with fairy lights. For intimacy, flameless candles can change your life – along with a good song playlist on occasion.

Color. White is not the most relaxing color; it is just preference. If you are going for ultimate relaxation and sensuality, think of earth and skin tones. Browns, dark or light, provide a warm and calming effect. Dark/light grays and dark blues can do the same, especially on the wall. Dark rooms can feel very intimate: Think cabins and fireplaces.

Touch. Soft blankets, a headboard, and blackout curtains – these things add greatly to muffling sound and creating a haven feel. Canopy beds can also create the feeling of safety and peace.  Wooden headboards warm a room, like fabric headboards; and even though they are not soft, they are more practical because they are considerably easier to clean. You will have to consider what matters more to you.  Texture by touch in the bedroom is the most delightful.

Function and Pleasure:

In the end, the bedroom is for sex and sleep, and perhaps entertainment if you’re an introvert or cannot personalize other spaces of the house. It’s a place to retreat and relax in. I’d rather any place in the house have clutter than the bedroom because relaxation is difficult if you’re tripping over things. I move clutter to the walk-in closet before bed.

People emphasize reading as the most important or enjoyable thing that you can do, but even still, there is no point in piling books in the bedroom. Like any other media, books are distracting and stimulating, and I wouldn’t read them before bed. This is all preference, again. Some find television relaxing, and some books. See what you actually enjoy: Do you enjoy reading, or just learning like I do (which there are many ways to learn and many places to read).

When it comes to furniture also, less is more. Floating nightstands are ideal, but elevated nightstands are also easy to clean under. Floating nightstands give a dreamy, modern look to a room. Fairy lights instead of lamps, even if the fairy lights are in lanterns, can take up a lot less space than a lamp, and are a lot more affordable.

Setting up your bedroom to foster the deepest relaxation, with the softest blankets and personalized colors, and to create deeper intimacy with dim lighting, is probably the biggest thing you can do for your life and health because relationships, safety, and sleep matter more than almost anything else to most people. Give some of these tips a try, and your whole life will improve tremendously!

The Most Minimalist Cleaning


There is a misconception that minimalism means no spending or that it is the equivalent of frugality.  Minimalism is intentional spending instead of no spending. Spending is a part of life.

Minimalism means a lot of things to a lot of people.  Everyone has their spin on it, and that’s the way it should be: What works best is what is personalized.  Minimalism can mean frugality, but for me, above all, it means efficiency.


When it comes to cleaning, I keep three cleaners.  I rarely ever use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, but they serve their purpose every once and a while.  Ninety percent or more of my cleaning is with vinegar and water.

Benefits of a clean house:

1. encourages productivity
2. sparkles in beauty
3. healthier (air)

Ways to Make Cleaning Easier:

1. Reduce possessions.
2. Hide possessions so they don’t attract dust.
3. Keep possessions near each other so they’re easier to lift and clean around.
4. Reduce cleaners.
5. Reduce square footage.
6. Opt for less furniture and less mirrors.  Glass is difficult to keep clean.
7.  Minimize clothes and surfaces that require special cleaners.

Asking For Help:

I think that growing up poor or growing up where mom does most of the housework, we can easily think that women are supposed to be able to do everything.  It can make us hesitant to ask for help, as if we are less competent, or have an unhealthy relationship with money, where saving is all that matters.  For me, even after college, I never wanted to spend money, and even more, I never wanted to ask for help.  There is a level of control and pride you lose when asking, but I think that less of things things make for a lot more peaceful life.

I do hire a maid once every six months.  A maid every 3-6 months can help with the especially tedious or oddball tasks that slow down because they may require extra products and most of all energy – energy because they are not something you do frequently, so require more thought, or are the difficult tasks.

Maid service or spa services are perfect gifts to ask for.  Flowers are great, but time to yourself and to spend with family is greater.

Perfect candidates to ask for help from family or a maid:

1. high-energy tasks: tub
2. oddball tasks: oven burners
3. time-consuming tasks: laundry

Here are places that really make a difference when delegated:

1. tub
2. baseboard/window sills
3. dusting fan blades and curtains
4. burners and oven (microwave also, if you own one)
5. mopping

The rest can be tackled easily day-to-day. The things that take the longest or require the most work are perfect to delegate.  I’ve spent many years just doing these tasks myself — and falling behind on them — as most of us do.  It’s okay. We are human, and life moves on. What works for you is what will always be best.

This method of intentional living helps to maximize what we value: peace and time. Energy and time are precious. We can’t get them back, and they matter most for our families.

Fear of Losing Money While Decluttering


The fear of loss is so great, that we hold on to so many possessions, activities, habits, and people in our lives, even when the cost to us can no longer be measured.  Bad relationships are just as hard to leave as good relationships.  Expensive or large possessions that don’t serve us stay for a long time.

It is not all our fault.  It is part psychological:  Loss aversion points that the loss of something has twice the effect on us as a gain.  Also, it is biological to gather, secure, and impress, to store up and to hoard in times of excess.   We have so many possessions and food items to gather from, that without intention, what we own goes quickly past the point of joy and service, to clutter.

Attachment to Ideas:

With our possessions, we hold on because of fear, fear that maybe we will never have enough or be enough.  We have to read through every book, to keep our mind sharp. We have to have enough lipsticks, to keep things interesting.  We have to bake to be an amazing mom/dad.

Money and attachment are the two biggest reasons decluttering takes 20 times as long as it could.  We are attached to the ideas or people behind the items and also to the items themselves if they’ve been with us for a long time.

True Cost:

Our fear of losing money is one that should be highlighted.  Keeping things just because a lot of money was spent is not a good enough reason.  Keeping something because it will waste otherwise (used makeup, opened food) is also not a good enough reason.

It would be better that we threw out the food we don’t use today, even if we can’t donate it, than to hold on in hopes that we can one day use it.  A lot of the food we haven’t touched we don’t like, are a bear to cook, or have ingredients we don’t want to eat.  But we hold on to them anyway, because it would be wasteful and frivolous.

Free Yourself:

This is not true.  There are some things worth far more than money, and that is peace of mind, health, and more time with the people you love.  You get all these things in exchange for just letting go, without trying to get anything back.

Be very selective on what you choose to sell, for the simple fact that minimalism does not apply to just possessions, but to the time and energy we also have to expend.  Errands matter more than possessions because with many errands, decluttering or time with family becomes impossible.  To sell many things guarantees a non-minimalist life for quite a while.  It is better to let go of the money and live in harmony now.

Health and time spent with family is worth every cent.  Instead of thinking of it all as a loss, think of it as a luxury you are affording.  Past mistakes afforded you current wisdom, and letting go is the price to pay for peace.

Mercy, Not Sacrifice

so ondd

Be merciful.  Everything that I believe can be summed up in a line:  I desire mercy, not sacrifice. It is too easy to get caught up in routine, learning, image, rules, and our opinions. Kindness is soon sacrificed for pride and human instinct. Our blunt methods override any message we have. Even if the message is compassionate or good, the method distracts and provokes.

Friends shake their head at mercy.  The business world tramples it.  Lovers take advantage of it.   Cynicism and anger are so easy to give into when we hurt. It is a way that we use to control the situation so that we minimize the chance of exacerbating our own fears and pain. It is a mechanism to defend our pride, but this process of giving in to bitterness sets us up to become the perpetrator.


We have all violated our deepest values at some point; out of ignorance or weakness, but does it matter if the result was the same? We ended up hurting ourselves or others. We try to minimize the areas that don’t make sense, but some inconsistency between action and thought will always be there because the desire to do something good will always come easier than doing it.  If we are honest with ourselves, we have been the victims and the perpetrators because of what came easiest at the time.

The world would not be better if there were more of anybody else. Nobody is all good or all bad. We are only human.  Therefore, being kind is the only logical way to live. This is also the minimalist way to live: minimal drama and suffering.

The Challenge:

All people are nice sometimes, and most people are merciful to people they like.  The challenge is toward difficult people or during difficult times.

The reality is there is never a time where you have nothing to gain by being kind. This is because it heals the soul in a way.  The only challenge really is to be kind when we don’t think it is deserved. It takes time to see the positives in that.

To choose to be kind is to choose to remain sweet.  A choice can stay, while feelings can’t.

Always be kind with what you say, and you won’t have many regrets in life. Learn from me; I have had many regrets. But it wasn’t the losses I took and the ways in which I hurt, but the way I handled some things.  Our thoughts perhaps can’t be changed, but actions, through understanding, can be.

I am naturally a cynical person, as an INTJ. What good is knowledge and logic, if all it results in is pride, and then, stress or pain for yourself and others.   Kindness is the one true gem, the thing that sparkles the brightest.  Arrogance is weakness, but mercy never could be.

Mental Illness: Battle of the Mind



Mind health matters because without it, peaceful living can become monumental.  Many people say health is body, mind, and spirit, but rarely do people take care of their mind outside of exercising it.  Body care is more than just exercise though.  It is also what we eat, our illnesses, and environmental factors (what we put on it, sun, childhood).  Body health is also affected by the mind’s health, so taking care of and understanding the mind is one of the biggest things we can do.

Rarely do we ever think about mental illness, except for when someone online gives it a nod with a meme, a family member is diagnosed, or a shooter goes on a rampage.  There are many forms of mental illness, but only a few are well-known: PTSD, ADHD, bipolar, narcissism, psycopathy.

I recognized my grandma’s schizophrenia or the kid in class that couldn’t sit still; I recognized these things and these alone as mental illness.  Granting legitimacy to the personality or anxiety disorders — it is a lot simpler to write them off that they are done on purpose, that people are just self-absorbed or difficult, people are just looking for an excuse for bad behavior.  People will cite bad parenting, arrogance, or culture.   This is a misunderstanding of mental illness.  Mental illness is a battle of thoughts, impulse, and mood.

Mental illness is either treated or exacerbated; there is no other way it is handled.  Without understanding, it is exacerbated.  You can see it most often online, in friendships, and in political comments.

Famous Examples:

Many well-known figures have suffered with mental illness:  Selena Gomez, Angelina Jolie, Robin Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio.  In the YouTube realm: Zoella, John Green, Jaclyn Hill, Shane Dawson.

Here are other recognizable figures: Isaac Newton, Steve Jobs, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Princess Diana.

So many different YouTube personalities have anxiety or depression, and people with mental illness often do become famous, achieve a great deal, or have positions of power in society, and this is due to the fact that they are eccentric, can be very studious and shut off from society, or enjoy control or attention.  These things make them perfectly situated toward entertainment or leadership.


In the United States, mental illness affects more people than any other country.  The top three after the US: Colombia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine.

Over 27% of US adults suffer with mental illness in any given year, and nearly 60% is not diagnosed.  There are various reasons why mental illness is not diagnosed: stigma (judgment, shame, misunderstanding) and cost of therapy.


Stigma is important because it’s probably the biggest reason people don’t look for help after cost.

1.  Tying illness to ineptitude.  Physically handicapped and mentally ill people can do as many things as anyone else, and they often do.  For the normality they don’t have, many have unusual brilliance.

It is rare to see politicians or CEOs admit to mental illness, and that is because of the types of mental illness they are usually associated with and because society’s image of mentally ill is incapable or lesser, which is a reputation they can’t afford.  So they suffer, and the people under them do as well.

2. Laughing at it.  We talk about stigma, but we laugh or roll our eyes at the Facebook friend raving on politics or posting depressing statuses or exhibitionist photographs; I think we all have.  Especially when celebrities act out, there are so many jokes to be made.

We may share an article “How to Know if You’re Dating a Sociopath” after a breakup, which further pushes the idea that people as either good or bad, not human.  Not all sociopaths are dangerous.  Many narcissists aren’t terrible parents.  Most ADHD people aren’t immature.   By painting things as all good or all bad, it helps us to better categorize things; but the price we pay for generalizing is high.

To love is to understand, understand that people try and want the same things that we do. It is easier to make fun of than it is to comfort, but it is not right.

Nothing is all good or all bad, when dealing with humans.

3.  Profiting off impulsivity and pain.  Society will exploit those with weakness, without exception, for entertainment or profit.  We even provoke.  We make SNL skits about them.  We put them on reality TV and hire them for pornography.  We cover the tabloids in their distress and paranoia (recently, Angelina Jolie with her divorce).   Also, marketing preys on almost all symptoms of mental illness: anxiety, impulsivity, low self-esteem, egotism. Pharmaceutical companies jump at the chance to help.

4. Not taking it seriously.  We accidentally make those with it compete for attention (if not suicidal or violent, not serious enough) or present that they are doing things on purpose.  Who can tell what another can control?  We did not create their mind; we are not in their mind.  We do not think a schizophrenic person can help their paranoia, for instance.

You cannot stop racing thoughts, paranoia/anxiety, and fear without knowing what is going on; and even after help, it depends on the day and person.  The best way to help someone suffering is to get them to therapy.


It is important to know the different types and which gender they affect the most because the earlier it is recognized, the better a person’s life can become.  They can set up their life in a way in which they can heal and thrive.  Also, if you can recognize it throughout society, you can be patient with your spouse, people online, and people at work.


Prevent exploitation: If you don’t know your weaknesses and inadequacies, advertisers or lovers will exploit you. When you know what is normal and what is not, you can more confidently navigate through life.

Peaceful and safe living: Racing thoughts, deep attachment, fear of abandonment, and constant anxiety make living peacefully near impossible.  Impulsiveness makes living safely difficult.  Your family member may hurt others or themselves with their recklessness and fears of loneliness.

I cannot overemphasize mental health in regards to a peaceful life.   Without taking this problem seriously, there will continue to be high rates of suicide, especially teenager and veteran, exploitation, exhibitionism, ugly divorces, and violence.  We can start by caring about the mental state of our children or spouses.  In almost all cases of mental illness, there are clear signs from youth, and trauma in childhood will exacerbate disorders.


Genetics, environment (upbringing), and chance.   In childhood, verbal abuse, physical abuse, or neglect happen because parents are unable to to cope with their own illness or with parenting, and so parents lash out, leave, or have addictions.  Living in fear or instability forces children to cope with things any way they know how, to lessen the pain.


As adults, they cope with stress the way they learned to as kids, which is usually in an unhealthy manner: violence, avoidance, recklessness, self-harm, clinginess, dramatic behavior for attention, anorexia.  They pass many of these things down to their own children.

Also, things like technology can heighten insecurity and self-absorption, but technology is also a coping mechanism (one of the few) that are available to children. Taking drastic measures with children (taking all technology) is never advised, as it can lead to suicide, depression, or violence, if it really was one of their only coping mechanisms to a life they struggle with.

Telling a child they are the best in the world, especially when one parent is absent or violent, also has been shown to lead to disorders.  Too much adoration and too little can have similar results.  You can never love a child too much, but to always take their side, to tell them they are the most intelligent or beautiful, this is when problems arise.  Prioritizing and recognizing kids for mercy and kindness means they will give it and value it in others, but prioritizing beauty and intelligence is a losing game.


To end this post, I wanted to mention the different disorders within mental illness: dissociative, anxiety, mood, psychotic, addiction, personality, and eating.

Some people have a combination of illnesses, not just one.   Personality, mood, and anxiety disorders are extremely common.

The types of personality disorders:

1. odd, eccentric behavior (weird) – schizophrenia, paranoid disorders
2. dramatic, emotional, or erratic behavior (wild) – antisocial, borderline, narcissistic
3. anxious, fearful behavior (worried) – avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive

For detailed information on personality disorders, view them here.

See my post on negative and positive coping mechanisms.  If you use any of these often, you should go to therapy.  Again, go to find patterns, not answers.  The answers that work should be personal.

Minimalist Guide to Productivity

There has been so much said about minimalism and productivity, and maybe it is the driving factor why people get into minimalism: clean home, productive life.  Being a minimalist doesn’t necessarily make you productive, but it gives you space and time to find priorities and weaknesses.  Knowing how your body works can make all the difference when it comes to the ability to getting things done.

Know Yourself:

When shopping for clothes or jewelry, I know the colors that look the best with my skin. You can also get color analysis done.  I think about my Kibbe body type when considering the cut of dress that will look best.

When thinking about beliefs and behaviors, I consider my Myers-Briggs type and also idiosyncrasies that I picked up from childhood.  It’s easier to be kind to others when you (1) consider personality and mental illness and (2) do not allow feelings of superiority, for instance, for nationality or personality type.

For sleep, keeping a food diary and knowing when the body naturally produces melatonin (9-10 p.m.) helps the most.  Certain foods take a long time to digest, raising body temperature and making sleep difficult.  Lavender oil and relaxing music feels luxurious, but it makes only a small difference.  About 80 percent of what we do makes very little difference in our outcome, and we have to consider that, to know where to simplify.

On productivity, the easiest and simplest ways to be productive is:

1. Sunshine.  Sit in a window with a lot of green and sunshine while working on papers and on your laptop.  You can put plants in the window if there is no green outside, but the sunshine matters most.  Sunshine boosts mood and reminds your body it’s daytime and time to work.  In the dark, it is easier to rest, and the mind naturally drifts.

2. Remove distractions.  Many humans are addicted to technology, almost to the same level of added sugar.  Some actually experience withdrawals if technology is gone for a few hours.  How much of your time is spent browsing Facebook or Googling a new thing?  Perhaps you could try writing down all the things you want to Google/shop for and then look it up at one specific time each day.

3. Know your body.   Keep a diary, if necessary. Most bodies get tired right after lunch.  This may be in part what we’re eating (starches, dairy, and sugars), but most people are easily distracted between lunch and 4:00 p.m.  Therefore, try to get the body of your work done between 8-12:30, especially if you work from home.  If you can’t get the majority of your work done between those hours, it’s time to delegate either to your children, to a service, or to a spouse.  Everyone needs rest.  You can’t perform well if you’re always exhausted, and you can’t clean well if your floors or counters are covered in papers and appliances.  So try rest and minimalism.

4. Make a list of each task.  If a task is big, break it up.  You have to know where to start.  Tackle one part of a big task a day, if necessary.  Only do one or a few tasks a day that is unusual (posting to eBay, trying a new appliance); most of our tasks should be routine, and those we can do without mental exertion.

Also, be ruthless with clutter that will require more work if kept; i.e., clothes that need to be sent out to be cleaned, clothes that will require another purchase, equipment with specialty cords.  Think about your future self when setting up systems and decluttering.

5.  Consider things that weigh on mood.  The last big thing is to keep a diary for at least two weeks to be careful of things that weigh on mood and energy.  Here is the list for me that I found over the years, but you will have to find out what brings down your own energy over the long-term: hormonal birth control, dairy, breads (I switched to crackers), brown rice (white rice is easier for me to digest), red meat, lots of added sugar (sugar drinks), caffeine.  Your list will look different from mine.

Here are the things that boost energy for me: green drink, walk in nature or sunshine, a quick mall massage (25 min), smaller meals, cleaning to music, playing with Pat.

There is no need to complicate productivity.  It is in our nature to be productive, if we get back to our roots of simple and natural living.