The Relationship Between Clutter And Stress
How Decluttering your home can improve your stress levels and overall health
Health is something many tend to take for granted until one day it’s compromised. A large majority of people go about their lives thinking they’re healthy because they haven’t developed a chronic disease, they’re not obese, or their mental health is seemingly in check.
It’s often not until one gets sick that they realize perhaps they weren’t all that healthy to begin with. And then it’s only on the journey to health and wellness that they actually begin to realize how incredible their body and mind feels when their health is at the top of the priority list.
Health is one of those things that seems to get shoved to the side as the demands of work, family commitments, financial restraints and other factors of daily life take priority. But seriously without health, what have you got?
A misconception of wellness is that you need to spend a lot of time at the gym or adhere to a certain diet to become healthy. Yes, exercise and nutrition have a profound effect on your health, but there’s more to it than that. One area I’ve become particularly interested in is the idea of decluttering; of getting rid of excess stuff that impairs our ability to get healthy and remain healthy.
The health benefits of decluttering can be substantial
The benefits of decluttering go way beyond having a tidy space you can be proud of. Excess stuff can have an impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can cause anxiety, impair your sleep, reduce your focus, and increase your oxidative stress. After all, we’re products of our environment and vice versa.
Living in an organized, less cluttered environment has the potential to provide you with more clarity and focus. If your home is in turmoil, it greatly reflects the chaos that may be occurring subconsciously in your mind impairing your ability to remain focused. Decluttering your physical space can help you de-clutter your mind in the process. This often results in a cleansing experience where you feel lighter and have more room to breathe.
Getting rid of stuff and letting go can also have a profound effect on your stress and anxiety levels. Living in a cluttered space can be mentally draining as it’s almost impossible to ignore tasks or projects that are left unfinished. All the visual information and reminders create constant stress and our cortisol levels continually rise. Over time this low-grade stress can deplete us of energy, generate feelings of being overwhelmed and impair our immune function.
If stress is left unmanaged this can lead to constant illness like colds, flu and tummy bugs. It can also promote weight gain, as extra stress causes many people to overeat as a coping mechanism. Let the stress builds up further and long-term it can lead to many chronic illnesses like heart disease, insomnia, autoimmune diseases, cancer, obesity and digestive issues.
Speaking of digestion, by decluttering your environment you may see some improvement in the functioning of your digestive system. Organising your space can result in the disappearance of symptoms like bloating, reflux, poor digestion, and inflammation.
This can be attributed to the gut-brain connection, as your stress levels decrease and your mind becomes less cluttered, your body has more energy and less oxidative stress. Your detoxification processes are functioning well and your microflora is in balance. This, in turn, means all those lovely nutrients you’re putting in your body are absorbed and delivered to the right place. Our antioxidant protection will then improve, protecting us against the oxidative stress and various chronic conditions from depression and diabetes to cancer and heart disease.
Cluttered homes also allow for the build of dust, dirt, pet hair and mould. These pathogens and toxins can be a disaster to our health causing allergies, respiratory conditions, inflammation, oxidative stress and eventually chronic illness. The amazing thing is, you may not even realize your suffering from the effects of these allergens until you clean out your environment.
If decluttering and becoming organized results in an improvement in our blood flow and reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress, I think it’s worth doing a little spring cleaning! This could truly be a simple thing you can do as a therapy for both your mind and body, increasing your longevity, vitality and total wellbeing.
So what do you think, time to get rid of all the excess stuff you’ve been carting around and focus on what’s really important?