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Clutter can cause stress and anxiety: clean up now

Clutter can cause stress and anxiety: clean up now


Ever felt like your head is about to explode whenever your house is in a mess? The kid's toys are lying everywhere, the furniture is in disarray, and a pile of dishes awaits you in the sink. At that point, you just want to scream!

Well, there's a scientific reason why you're feeling that way. No, you're not going crazy. Research shows that clutter can make you feel stressed and anxious. It can also get you angry. In short, mess and clutter have an overall negative impact on your well-being.

How clutter is linked to stress and anxiety

Almost everything about how we feel boils down to perception and brain signaling. When you see your cluttered home or workplace, a signal is sent to your brain that work isn't yet done. You become anxious as you're overwhelmed with so many things to do to put things in order.

Here are reasons why clutter leads to stress:

Why it matters

Of course, you can solve this stressor by simply organizing your space again. You feel the anxiety and stress fade away. So you can't exactly characterize this as a psychiatric disorder. Still, it affects your mental health.

But here's the big challenge: if you have a habit of leaving your environment unkempt and disorganized, you are likely to experience stress and anxiety that is hard to explain yet difficult to put away.

That's because your home or workplace is always in a mess. So the signal is continually sent to your brain.

Declutter to beat anxiety

Unlike most other stressors and anxiety triggers, clutter is a pretty easy stressor to fix. All you need to do is declutter and keep your place organized. But if it were that easy all this while, wouldn't you have always kept your place organized?

If finding time to clean up and organize your space is a challenge, get help. You don't have to do it alone. Get your family or colleagues involved, and you'll see how much your overall well-being may improve. Less stress, anxiety, and anger.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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