Mess and clutter can impact more than just the way we live. We know that for some people, there can be a psychological reason why you might have the energy or motivation to declutter your space. We went through this common scenario with psychologist Noosha Anzab at Lysn.
But did you know that this can actually be a case of the chicken or the egg? There is a tonne of evidence to show that a messy living space can actually impact the way you think, behave and feel - making us feel stressed and anxious. Again, we spoke to Dr Anzab to find out exactly how mess is impacting our mental health.
Does clutter and mess in our living spaces have an impact on the way we feel emotionally and mentally?
Put simply, a messy house can make for a chaotic mind! The same goes for your workspace or desk, or those ‘everything’ drawers where things get stuffed in them and the drawer gets closed without too much thought. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, forgetful, or a little strung out, do some cleaning! Studies have proven the positive effects cleaning can have on our overall wellbeing, including health. At some point in time, we’ve all tried to get some work done and instead, cleaned beforehand. The act of tidying up your space physically, allows the mind to clear mind simply because your mind doesn’t have to compete on processing lots of stimuli (or clutter) at once. Cleaning and de-cluttering can allow you to focus more on tasks. If areas of your home are looking busy or full of clutter, take some time to organise a space and throw out anything you don’t really need. Organised chaos can exist and can actually act as inspiration for some. The aim is to be decluttered enough to improve productivity rather than facilitate feelings of being overwhelmed, swamped or messy.
Can our spaces impact the way we sleep and relax?
If your bedroom is in a state of disarray this can have a dramatic impact on the way we sleep. There have been studies that have shown that people who have more clutter filling the open space in their bedrooms take longer to fall asleep compared to those that have neat and tidy rooms. A messy room has the potential to lead to increased tiredness (thus making it less likely that the mess will get cleaned up the following day). Take a look at your bedroom and have a look at how this space might be affecting your sleep. Sleep is incredibly important for a well-balanced emotional state, so ensure you set the foundations right. Keep the space clean and free of clutter, choose the right bedding, watch the kind of lights you’re exposed to, ensure good airflow and organize the space. Avoid electronics in this space and go the extra mile to turn your bedroom into your retreat. After all you spend over 6 hours a night in there, so you need to be comfortable, undisturbed and relaxed in this space.
Can cleaning up our spaces have a mental health benefit?
Funnily enough, the act of cleaning can actually have mental health benefits. Just like some people like to cook as a therapeutic process, cleaning can have the same effect. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, the act of cleaning (and the end result) can distract you from whatever is on your mind and help to ease any mental concerns. Then the tidy house at the end will help your mind to feel more organised, less anxious and allow you to perform other activities with more dedication and a relaxed mind.