Why Decluttering is Good for Your Mental Health

November 22, 2021

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How To Make the Most out of Your Enviroment!

Our environment undeniably affects our mood and capability of completing tasks. If our environment makes us feel overwhelmed or stressed out, we feel this impact. One of the most common causes of an unhealthy environment is unnecessary clutter. Removing or controlling the clutter in our lives allows us to directly reduce these stressors, causing us to feel happier, less stressed, and more confident in ourselves. Decluttering is the process of removing, reducing, or rationalizing the things in our surroundings. Clutter can be physical, mental, or even digital, and the ways we choose to tackle clutter can vary, but here are some suggestions:

  1. Cleaning and organizing can reduce anxiety and stress.

            When things feel out of order and scattered, it can leave us feeling scatter-brained and anxious. Bringing order and organization to our environment can relieve that anxiety. Decluttering your surroundings is a great way of reducing stress, and allows for a relaxed state of mind. It can be quite therapeutic; put on some relaxing music, and let your mind wander from all of the stressful tasks that have been taking up your conscience. If tackling a large area to clean becomes overwhelming, try doing it in short 15-minute durations every couple of days. The repetitive actions of cleaning can have a calming effect on your mind, give it a try!

  1. It will give you a sense of confidence and self-efficacy.

            Organizing actually utilizes both decision-making and problem-solving skills. When decluttering, you have to make quick-thinking decisions, of what goes where, how to fold or store different items away, what items to keep and what items to throw out, and how to display your items in the most effective way. All of these tasks that come with cleaning utilize and strengthen decision-making skills. Doing these tasks successfully can lead to feeling more confident in your problem-solving skills. It helps you feel as though you have accomplished something; it’s very rewarding to live in a clean, organized space.

  1. It can increase your focus. 

            When your space is cluttered, dirty, or messy, the chaotic energy that mess creates can greatly impact your ability to focus. The clutter hinders your brain’s ability to process information and can distract you from the tasks you need to focus on. If you find yourself struggling to focus on a project, it may be beneficial to take the time to clean up your workstation first. You might be surprised, devoting just a few minutes of your time to cleaning the area around you may help you concentrate and get your work done more efficiently. At the same time, limiting the number of things you have in your workspace may also have the same impact: Fewer things mean fewer distractions, and fewer distractions mean more work gets done! 

  1. Decluttering helps you gain control of your environment. 

            Oftentimes, when people are feeling out of control in their daily lives, cleaning and tidying up around the house can be a way to gain some sense of control. In times of high stress, cleaning and organizing can allow for a sense of control during a chaotic time. Clutter and disorganization can make for a high-stress, distracting environment. If you are ever feeling the sudden urge to clean when you’re overwhelmed or stressed, just know this is your body’s way of looking to bring some order and control into your environment. 

            Clutter can be daunting, but it can be tackled. There are a variety of reasons why decluttering your environment may be difficult, however, don’t let this be another reason to stress yourself out. Make sure that organizing your environment is something you want to do to better yourself and not something you feel like you have to do. Life is stressful enough, don’t put more unnecessary stress on yourself! 

Check out the UNH Wellness page for more resources and helpful links to keep yourself healthy!

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