How Your Living Space Affects Your Mental Health
Make your home an ideal environment for relaxation.
Have you ever tried to work in a cluttered space? How did you feel? I bet you felt more anxious and stressed and weren’t able to focus fully on your work.
I don’t know about you, but a cluttered environment makes my mind go wild. Immediately, my brain shuts off and I can’t think straight.
Environmental psychology is a body of research that studies how our living spaces affect our mental state. And it points that everything around your house, from how you arrange your room, how much sunlight enters your room, can affect your emotional state.
Home is your sanctuary, so keeping it tidy and organized helps you relax and unwind. When you’re stressed from work and come home, you want it to be conducive to relaxation. A cluttered, disorganized environment can further make you tired and stressed.
As Lindsay T. Graham, Ph.D. a research specialist at the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California at Berkeley, CA. says,
“Our homes can be incredibly important tools for shaping our daily experiences.” Depending on how you decorate and organize your home can evoke a different range of feelings.”
It turns out, a clean and organized environment has tremendous benefits for your mind.
Here is how it can help improve the quality of your life.
Clarity of Mind
Cluttered spaces make our minds cluttered too. Research states that clutter has an effect on your mood and can make you feel more anxious and stressed. Keeping your interior space clean and organized supports well-being and emotional balance. So if you want to change your mood naturally, look into the living space or the environment in which you work. You may be able to change some things around to boost your mood.
For me, for example, I can’t stand physical clutter. A bunch of disorganized papers lying around or seeing things, not in their correct places, puts me in a disorganized state. Adopting a few minimalistic lifestyle habits helps me achieve clarity of mind and focus on what’s important. And I’ve found that I can achieve that clarity with a more organized workspace.
A Boost In Productivity
Research shows that a clean and organized home also helps you be more productive. When the environment in which you work is free of clutter, you’re able to focus more on your work.
So how do you make sure your space is conducive to your well-being? Here are a few suggestions on how to maximize your personal space.
- Keep your workstation minimalistic (leave only the bare essentials on your desk)
- Put away or file unnecessary paperwork
- Get rid of gadgets that don’t serve you any purpose
Assess Your Living Space
It’s not only the immediate workspace where you work that can affect your mood. Your overall living space can affect your mental health too. You want it to be tidy and organized so that your home is an ideal place to rest and relax.
How do you ensure your living space is conducive to relaxation? The first step is to look around. Assess what things you wish you could change. Maybe you see a cluttered corner somewhere that irritates your eyes or a piece of furniture you want to move around, or you want to replace old furniture with newer furniture. Or do you have any broken things that need urgent attention?
Dwelling on nonfunctional things too long without taking action will further increase your stress. Research shows that even looking at or thinking about broken things that need repairs is enough to raise cortisol — the stress hormone, according to one research study at the University of California — Los Angeles.
When I look around my space and look at things I don’t like, I look for ways I could change them. For me, looking at broken things, or things out of order is enough to make me stressed. Not having to dwell on things that need fixing eliminates stress and promotes well-being.
Clutter can take a toll on your brain and further add to your psychological stress. Clutter taxes your stress system. Just seeing clutter is enough to take away your mental power. Look around your space and find cluttered areas. Tackle each cluttered area one at a time.
The way I approach clutter is not letting it pile up in the first place. If If I see things out of order, say a misplaced item — paperwork or keys — I quickly put it back to where it belongs. This method helps me control clutter before it has a chance to pile up.
You may not remove clutter all at once, but if you do it consistently every day, the clutter will be gone before you know it. Also, items like clothing and laundry can quickly pile up, especially if you have a family and kids.
Assess how much clutter you wish to eliminate before you decide how to organize it. You can eliminate clutter strategically by making use of organizers and filing cabinets. You may as well get rid of a few things as you clear up your space. I love a minimalist approach to clutter and getting rid of things I no longer use or find functional helps me breathe.
The Bottom Line
The environment in which you live and work has a direct impact on your mental health. You can improve your life by making your home an ideal place for relaxation. A clean and organized living space helps you achieve clarity of mind and boosts your productivity. It also helps you relax as opposed to making you more stressed.