2022 – Improve your Mental Health – Declutter
Focusing on the New Year often brings about those resolutions that many of us try to stay away from for fear of setting ourselves up for failure. But suppose you could accomplish a lot regarding your own mental health and wellness by just spending time clearing space? As we are coming off the holidays, where many of us have overindulged in buying or receiving more things, we may have a consumer hangover as we look around and wonder how to manage all our stuff.
It is possible that your stuff and the overabundance of it in your home, office, computer and phone is impacting your stress level. Clutter is overwhelming. It stresses us out because it is one more thing to manage. It is out where we see it overloading our brain with too much information. Clutter can result in irritability, increase in stress levels and focus difficulty.
Research shows that clutter causes stress. This might be a known fact to you already. You may realize that when you look at a pile of “stuff” that you have been meaning to put away, you feel your stress level go up, cortisol drops into your system and the reality that you are “stressed out” becomes a real issue. The research shows a direct link between the stress hormone cortisol and clutter or “a high density of household objects”. Dr. Bhavna Barmi, a clinical psychologist says, “A cluttered space can feel overwhelming. It overloads your brain with too much sensory information. This results in irritability, increase in stress levels and disturbed focus.” (Gupta, 2020)
One of my favorite authors, Dr. Rick Hanson, shared a study that showed prolonged periods of stress actually change the structure of the brain, making us even more susceptible to stress in the future. The more stress we have, the less our ability to deal with stress. Clutter can keep us in this constant state of stress. (Danielle, 2020)
Our surroundings affect our mood, our energy, our focus and our level of wellness. If having clutter causes stress, that would also indicate that clearing that “stuff” would impact our mental health in a positive way. Decluttering our space may give us a sense of mindfulness, a breath of freshness, a sense of empowerment and clarity. Decluttering can result in a relaxed state of mind, bringing calmness to our environment and to our own state of mind. (Gupta, 2020)
What better time than the beginning of a New Year to begin a practice of clearing space, allowing for empty space to bring in the new. Without emptiness, we can’t bring in the new. Create an environment for what might be in store for this year. Clear the old. Prioritize what you will allow to be in your space. Give your environment a sense of orderliness which in turn will give your mind that same sense. Sit back, enjoy the openness of your space, and take a deep breath in as you prepare for this next year.
Danielle, M. (2020, August). https://miadanielle.com/psychological-effects-ofclutter/. Retrieved from Miadanielle.com:https://miadanielle.com
Gupta, S. (2020, October 30). https://www.healthshots.com/mind/mental-health/5-benefits-decluttering-has-for-your-mentalhealth-according-to-a-psychologist/. Retrieved from Healthshots, Your daily dose of wellness:https://www.healthshots.comTags: clearing space, clutter causes stress, declutter for mental health, surrounding affect our mood
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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