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The Relationship Between Clutter and Stress

February 10, 2019 by

Often, people take their health for granted until it starts to decline. Many people live every day assuming that they are in perfect health because they have no chronic diseases, they are at a healthy weight, and their mental health is seemingly where it should be.

It?s not until someone gets sick when they start to wonder if they were actually in great health to start with. At this point, it is an uphill battle to get back to a healthy state of being, at which point it is easier to see how resilient their bodies are and how great their minds feel when they prioritize their health.

Health often gets put on the backburner in light of family obligations, work responsibilities, financial restraints, and other factors of life that are more pressing, No one really considers the fact that without your health, you don’t have much that you can live for.

One commonly misunderstood concept of health and wellness is that you have to go to the gym every day or eat a strict diet of only fruits and vegetables in order to be in the best health. While these things are true in the sense that they are important factors of your overall health in moderation, there is more to it than that.

One area of health that needs to be considered is your mental health. The amount of stress that we live with is unprecedented these days, and small things can add up to a lot of undue stress. Having excess things around your house or living in a cluttered space is one thing that impairs your ability to get healthy and to stay healthy.

Taking the time to declutter your living area can have a substantial impact on your health. This goes far beyond just giving yourself a tidy space to live and work in, because excess stuff can have a negative impact on your mental and physical welfare. Clutter can lead to feelings of anxiety, prevent you from getting quality sleep, reduce your ability to focus, and raise your oxidative stress.

Alternatively, living in an organized environment without clutter allows you to have more mental clarity and focus. If your home is chaotic, it can mirror the chaos that may be occurring in your mind and impair your ability to stay focused. Cleaning up your physical space can help you organize your thoughts in the process, which can result in an experience that makes you feel lighter and more able to breathe freely.

Getting rid of material items can also have a large impact on your stress and anxiety levels. Being in a cluttered space is mentally draining because it doesn’t allow you to ignore tasks that need to be accomplished. The overload of visual information and reminders give you a constant sense of stress, which continuously raises your cortisol levels. Over time, this subtle sense of stress can drain your energy, make you feel overwhelmed, and even lower your immune function.

Unmanaged stress can lead to an increased susceptibility to illnesses such as colds, the flu, and stomach bugs. It can also lead to weight gain, as people often cope with extra stress by overeating. If stress builds up further, it can eventually lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, inability to sleep, autoimmune diseases, cancer, weight gain, and digestive issues.

Cluttered living spaces also allow pathogens to build and multiply. Things like dirt, dust, pet hair, mold, and mildew will continue to grow in a cluttered environment if they are not properly tended to. These environmental pathogens and toxins can damage your health by causing allergies, respiratory issues, inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic illness. The tricky thing here is that you might not even realize that these allergens are negatively impacting your health until you declutter and clean up your environment.

If cleaning up and becoming organized will improve your mental and physical health, it is worth taking the time to do. This one simple activity can increase your longevity and improve your overall wellbeing.

Start by going through your home and getting rid of anything that you don’t have a use for or is outdated in some way. Make a “keep”, “donate”, and “trash” pile so you know which items are important to you and which you can live without. If there are some items that you are on the fence about, keep them in a closet for about a month and see if you ever end up taking them out to use. If not, go ahead and get rid of them. Doing this can improve your mental and physical health.

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