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Banking to Buddhism: Lessons From a Woman Who Left the City for Bhutan

An intriguing story of a woman who left the city for the minimalist life of Buddhism — including shaving her head — caught the attention of The Independent, which reports that Emma Slade hasn’t looked back since she started her new life in 1997. What she left behind was a job in high finances and the life to go with it. What triggered her move was a life-changing encounter with someone who tried to rob her.

Admittedly, not everyone is going to have this type of experience and epiphany in their life. But it still might leave you wondering if living with less might make you happier — and possibly even wealthier in a different sort of way.

While there’s no scientific data to show that living with less stuff will increase your happiness, a growing number of people insist that this is in fact part of the equation. With an estimated 70 percent of American homeowners unable to park their car in the garage because it’s filled with stuff that doesn’t fit inside the house and an average credit card debt of $16,000, it certainly makes you ponder.

I've written a number of articles about the health benefits of happiness and offered many different strategies shown to increase your happiness level. But when you think about it, learning to live on less and joining the minimalist movement may evoke your own epiphany.

When it comes to decluttering and minimizing, there are many ways to go about it. Begin with baby steps by simply spending less — and don’t charge anything! Next, practice the art of letting go and purposely decluttering by visualizing what you need versus what you want, then getting rid of everything but the needs. Then think about what might make your life better with less, consider what you value most, and evaluate whether it adds value to your life. If it doesn’t add value, get rid of it, and keep going.
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