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The Relation Between A Clean Work/Home Environment and Mental Health




The importance of a clean and organized living and working environment cannot be overstated when it comes to our mental health. Studies have repeatedly shown that the state of our physical surroundings can have a direct impact on our mood and stress levels.


For example, a study by Saxbe and Repetti published in the journal "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin" found that home tours were correlated with daily patterns of mood and cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Additionally, a study by McMains and Kastner published in "The Journal of Neuroscience" looked at the interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in the human visual cortex and found that a cluttered environment can lead to over-activation of the visual cortex, leading to feelings of stress and anxiety.





The benefits of a clean and organized environment go beyond just reducing stress. Research also suggests that a clean and organized environment can lead to healthier habits and behaviors. Indiana University conducted a study that found a correlation between tidier homes and fitter bodies. This could be because a clean and organized home makes it easier to engage in healthy activities such as exercise, and can also help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Additionally, a study by Lang et al. published in "Current Biology" found that anxiety can lead to spontaneous ritualized behavior, such as excessive cleaning and tidying. This suggests that engaging in cleaning and organizing activities can be a helpful coping mechanism for managing anxiety.


Mindfulness practices can also be beneficial when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety in a clean and organized environment. For example, Hanley et al. published a study in "Mindfulness" that found that washing dishes to wash the dishes can be a brief instruction in an informal mindfulness practice. The repetitive motion of washing dishes and the focus on the present moment can be a form of meditation that can help reduce stress and anxiety.


The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll in 2012 that found that a clean and organized bedroom can lead to better sleep. A cluttered and disorganized bedroom can make it difficult to relax and wind down before going to sleep, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders. A clean and organized bedroom can also make it easier to maintain good sleep hygiene and create a comfortable environment for sleeping.





Physical activity also plays an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends regular exercise as a way to improve mental health and reduce feelings of stress. A clean and organized environment can make it easier to engage in physical activity and make time for exercise. For example, an organized home gym or a designated space for yoga can make it more likely for individuals to exercise regularly.


It is important to note that maintaining a clean and organized environment does not mean striving for perfection or constantly living in a state of cleanliness. A certain level of messiness and disorder is natural and can even be beneficial for creativity. The goal should be to maintain a level of cleanliness and organization that allows for a sense of peace and relaxation.


In conclusion, maintaining a clean and organized living and working environment is crucial for our mental health and well-being. It can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, promote healthy habits and behaviors, and lead to better sleep. Regular cleaning and organizing activities, as well as incorporating mindfulness practices, can be beneficial in maintaining a clean and organized environment. Additionally, regular physical activity can also play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. It is important to find a balance between cleanliness and disorder that allows for a sense of peace and relaxation. By paying attention to the state of our physical surroundings and making a consistent effort to maintain a clean and organized environment, we can improve our mental health and overall well-being.


Sources:

Saxbe DE, Repetti R. No place like home: home tours correlate with daily patterns of mood and cortisol. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2010 Jan;36(1):71-81. doi:10.1177/0146167209352864. PMID: 19934011.

McMains S, Kastner S. Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex. J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 12;31(2):587-97. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3766-10.2011. PMID: 21228167.

Saxbe DE, Repetti R. No place like home: home tours correlate with daily patterns of mood and cortisol. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2010 Jan;36(1):71-81. doi:10.1177/0146167209352864. PMID: 19934011.

Indiana University. Tidier homes, fitter bodies.

Lang M, Krátký J, Shaver JH, Jerotijević D, Xygalatas D. Effects of anxiety on spontaneous ritualized behavior. Curr Biol. 2015 Jul 20;25(14):1892-7. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.049. PMID: 26096971.

Hanley AW, Warner AR, Dehili VM, Canto AI, Garland EL. Washing dishes to wash the dishes: brief instruction in an informal mindfulness practice. Mindfulness. 2015;6(5):1095-1103. doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0360-9

National Sleep Foundation. 2012 Bedroom Poll.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Physical activity reduces stress.

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