Is Your Environment Killing Your Mental Health?

April 15, 2015

Clutter may not actually kill you physically, but it will increase distraction and kill your natural creativity, focus, clarity, and ultimately your mental health all together. Cleanliness, or at least the perception of it, also increases the value of an item or even a person. A well-groomed person is seen to be more interesting, intelligent and attractive.

If you go to purchase a home, the owner, if they are intelligent, will at the very least tidy the home and clean it. Some very minor renovations can also often lead to a large increase in value.

If you were to enter the home and be distracted by clutter or dirt, you will associate clutter and dirt with the home whether you want to or not. If it is clean and tidy, your mind is free to start imagining with greater ease what you could add to it to make it your own. The external environment becomes symbolic of your internal environment.

Consider this for a few moments. Imagine a really cluttered room and notice how you feel: heavy, distracted and unfocused. Now, imagine a tidy room and what do you feel? Light, clearheaded and focused.
Envision your dream home or workplace.

Do you envision rooms filled with papers, clothes, food, buzzing devices and other junk all over the place?


Not even Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders imagine rooms full of junk. In fact, it’s just the opposite, they dream of being able to start again with an uncluttered and calming environment. Unfortunately, the confusing symbolic meaning they have attached to all the junk, which they don’t need, makes it incredibly difficult for them to let go of it.

Because of this, they struggle to feel good and to find their natural creativity and focus. What you need to do now is quite simple. Tidy up the spaces where you spend most of your time and most importantly, MAINTAIN IT.

Do a short sweep of your environment each morning, especially your work area, and get everything that is not immediately relevant in order and out of sight. This includes switching off and removing irrelevant devices and apps. Keep your area tidy so you can specifically focus on each task at hand. Clean up and organize any distracting files on your computer (e.g. the files on your desktop).

Also study ergonomics, get a good chair, table, and maintain proper posture. With all these external modifications, you are going to feel less fatigue and irritations, higher energy and more natural focus, clarity and calm. Finally, aim to spend more time outside. Nothing clears the mind like a short walk, especially if it is in a naturally green setting.

Although having naturally calming and inspiring objects in your internal environment does help, it does not have the same effect as the real thing. Your mind can enjoy and connect to the symbol to improve mood but it will not be fooled. Going outside every day and spending time in real nature (with your gadgets off) is essential for good mental health.


Control Your Environment or It Will Control You!

Be calmer, more creative and find peace the simple way. Your environment influences and shapes your mood, creativity and attitudes. A clear and clutter free environment will tend to inspire a clear, creative and clutter free mind. It is easier and often possible to solve a problem through a simple environmental change alone.

The Action Plan:

1. Make a list of all the maintainable ways you could improve your work and home environment on a daily basis. Change just one small habit at a time and only move on to the next one after you are sure you can maintain the newly implemented habit.

2. Set up periods in your day that is device and distraction free. A short distraction free walk in nature each day is a must. Even five minutes will help greatly, though 20 minutes or more is ideal.

3. Consider the people who make up your usual environments and how you can spend more or less time with them depending on your goals. Start with the most distracting or irritating person and think of how you could reduce your time with them.

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4 comments on “Is Your Environment Killing Your Mental Health?

  1. JOHN MACINTYRE Apr 15, 2015

    any kind of help is better than none, thank you.

  2. lindsay Jul 15, 2015

    Help. I live with my dad and i feel like we are in a silent war. He uses fear and intimidation to scare me and its taking a tole on me. He seems to have anxiety and so do i, What do i do in this kind of situation where its two people with the anxiety? What can I do to make this situation better or where we can communicate?