As humans, we tend to compartmentalize things. We view situations in isolation and look for simple solutions that are directly related to the problem. This is especially the case when it comes to our physical and mental health. Feeling depressed? Take medication and go to therapy. Feeling out of shape? Increase your cardio and start a weight lifting routine. While these practices may be helpful, they represent just a portion of the factors contributing to your overall physical and mental health. One contributor that is often overlooked is the cleanliness of your home and workspace.
As you walk into your home or office, how do you feel? The answer to this question can largely depend on the cleanliness (or messiness) of the space. When you walk into a clean, organized space, you will likely feel more relaxed, refreshed, and energized for the day. Walking into a similar space that is cluttered and messy, you are likely to feel uncomfortable, stressed, overwhelmed, and even tired. Why is this? A recent study from Princeton University linked increased stress incurred from a cluttered space to our mind’s inability to focus. As you likely have experienced, it is difficult to focus in a messy room filled with distractions. Difficulty focusing can lead to mental fatigue, frustration, and increased levels of stress and anxiety associated with poor productivity, falling behind on obligations, and losing things like important documents and paperwork. Because of these negative impacts, people who spend extended time in an unclean or unorganized space are often more susceptible to mental health issues.
Beyond just your mental health, an unclean or cluttered space can also negatively impact your physical health. Increased stress associated with clutter can have a profound impact on blood pressure, heart disease, and weight gain. Additionally, the mental fatigue associated with a messy space can leave you less motivated to get up and be active. While it is easy to reverse this trend, living in a messy space long-term can often lead to poorer physical health.
So, what is the solution? For many of us, it comes down to coming up with the time and energy to clean and organize. It isn’t always easy, so start small. Begin a new routine of cleaning and organizing one area of the house every 2-3 days. This should take no more than 30-40 minutes of your day. Over time, you will begin to maintain clean, organized spaces in your home, without having to dedicate 3 to 4 hours of your day, and feeling overwhelmed and stressed in the process. As it becomes easier and easier to maintain a clean home and workspace, you will likely find much of the stress, anxiety, fatigue, and distractions have been greatly reduced. In turn, you are likely to see noticeable improvements in your mental and physical health.
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