How Freud’s 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development relate to hoarding

minimalism introducing psychology book hoarding theory science-1

One of my own personal theories is that some people are just ‘born minimalists’. Looking back over my childhood I believe I’m one of those people. During my research I’ve uncovered plenty of examples and psychological theories to support this. And, on the other hand, people can also be born hoarders – well, kind of. According to Freud, the tendency to hoard can be traced back to childhood.

Sigmund Freud came up with the 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development we all go through while growing up. Our experiences during that time will affect our future selves.

STAGES OF PSYCHOSEXUAL DEVELOPMENT BY FREUD

  • Age 0-2 Oral stage
  • Age 2-3 Anal stage
  • Age 3-6 Phallic stage
  • Age 6-11 Latent stage
  • Age 11+ Genital stage

While I’m sure there are lessons to be learnt from the other stages, the phase that relates to minimalism – or, in this case, hoarding – is at the age of 2-3 years: what Freud calls the Anal stage.

This is when a child takes its first steps to independence. It’s while potty training that a child can gain confidence and begin making decisions for itself. At this age children they learn to ‘let things go’. If parents are strict about potty training, the child may be reluctant to give up anything in the future.

You may have heard of the phrase ‘anally retentive’? Well, this second phase of childhood development is when someone begin to exhibit such traits. As such, they may develop hoarding tendencies later in life. A person is simply keeping hold of things because, as adults, they are able to make the decision for themselves. They are no longer being ‘forced’ to give it up.

It’s possible that your experience of potty training from the ages of 2-3 may impact your life as a minimalist. You may find it easy to let things go while decluttering. Or minimising your ‘hoard’ may be a more difficult process for you. Nonetheless, it can be done!

Have a read of our blog posts on the Practice of Minimalism for practical tips.

Benson, N. C., (2007) Introducing Psychology, London, Icon Books Ltd.

The ‘hyper brain’ of high IQ individuals + how minimalism can help with these anxieties

mensa magazine july 2020 high iq intelligence anxiety disorder psychology minimalism-1

In an article complied from the Mensa World Journal, the results of a study by lead author Ruth Karpinski of Pitzer College were shared with the Mensa UK community in the July 2020 issue of Mensa magazine.

With findings originally published in the journal ‘Intelligence’ and on neurosciencenews.com the article reports that highly intelligent people have an increased chance of suffering from psychological issues, including anxiety disorders.

The study developed a hyper brain / hyper body theory and suggests that “individuals with high cognitive ability react with an overexcitable emotional and behavioural response to their environments. Due in part to their increased awareness of their surroundings, people with a high IQ then tend to experience an overexcitable, hyperactive central nervous system.”

So those with above-average intelligence may find that they are more sensitive to their surroundings and, as such, may benefit from a minimalist approach.

On the other hand, a disorganised, cluttered space or environments with loud noises or strong smells could be enough to evoke an anxious response.

The co-author of the original study Audrey Kinase Kolb confirms that participants with a higher intelligence experienced significantly more anxiety than average: “Just over ten per cent of the US has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, compared to 20 per cent of Mensans.”

It goes to show that being ‘gifted’ is not always the case – as Karpinski says; “Those with high IQ possess unique intensities and overexcitabilities which can be at once both remarkable and disabling on many levels.”

In an effort to minimise those disabling effects, adopting a calm lifestyle and peaceful environment with minimal distractions – sounds, smells, clutter – could be a factor in improving anxieties in high IQ individuals.

From:

Mensa World Journal, 2020, ‘Anxious times for those with high IQ’, Mensa magazine, July 2020, pp. 28.

Original study:

Karpinski, R.I., Kinase Kolb, A.M., Tetreault, N.A., and Borowski, T.B, 2017, ‘High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities’, Intelligence. Published online October 8 2017

Welcome to the Theoretical Minimalist blog

theoretical minimalist minimalism theory- writing ideas (6)

Minimalism is a mystery.

I’ve been researching it for years.

And I’ve heard it said so many times that there’s no ‘right way’ to be a minimalist.

Minimalism looks different for everyone.

  • It’s not about the aesthetic. But, also, it is.
  • It’s not about having a specific number of belongings. But, also, it is.
  • It’s not about getting rid of everything until you’re living in an empty, echoey box. But, also, it is.

So I’m not here to tell you WHAT you should do.

But I AM here to tell you the WHY behind it.

I’m interested in the psychology behind minimalism. What theories you can apply to it and how we can all understand ourselves better.

How minimalism can change our lives through the power of our minds.

Wow, that’s a big promise, isn’t it?