Fact or fable: Increased wellbeing in voluntary simplicity
Keywords:voluntary simplicity, wellbeing, review, low consumption lifestyle
The value of a simple life has been espoused by writers and thinkers throughout time. In the modern era, it has been proposed as an antidote to modern stressors and as a path to wellbeing. The simple life — or voluntary simplicity as it has become known — is a lifestyle whose hallmark is reduced consumption. Personal growth and ecologically responsible behaviours are also integral components. If voluntary simplicity is a path to increased wellbeing, then society stands to benefit if the lifestyle becomes more widely adopted. This review asks the question, is there empirical evidence for an association between voluntary simplicity and improved wellbeing? Using a systematic approach, peer-reviewed literature regarding the wellbeing outcomes of simplifiers was located, resulting in four studies containing a total of 3,233 participants. A comparison of the four studies is given and the strengths and limitations of the present state of research in the area offered. It is concluded that the putative association between voluntary simplicity and improved wellbeing does exist, although important questions remain to be resolved by future research.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. The license prevents others from using the work for profit without the express consent of the author(s). The license also prevents the creation of derivative works without the express consent of the author(s). Note that derivative works are very similar in nature to the original. Merely quoting (and appropriately referencing) a passage of a work is not making a derivative of it.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).