Have you ever walked into a room and instantly lifted in mood? Maybe it was light and bright, or warm and cozy. Or are there places that you visit that make you feel emotionally drained, down in spirit or eager to leave but not sure why? Mood can be affected by many things, precise as the surrounding room, and the environment affecting your health may be a bigger factor than you think.
Is your environment affecting your health?
Filling the world with happiness!
In recent articles we have looked at how exercise can affect our health, how routine affects our ability to reduce stress and lift our mood, and most of us know only too well the affect that other people can have on our mood: Whether it’s that jolly young chap in the grocery store that makes us smile each morning, or that whiny friend down the road with their string of ailments that we try to avoid. There is a saying “people are either radiators or drains – they either warm you with their energy or drain you of yours”. There’s also the positive ones amongst us that believe that we attract what we are, and many of us try to avoid the company of grumpy people by donning that smile.
Work, rest and play
The environment in which we live, work and relax also has a massive influence on our mood, that’s why most of us like to ‘get away from it all’ in order to wind down and relax. A large number of us choose holiday locations where typically there will be sand, sea and blue skies with little stimulus that helps us to relax. What a lovely thought especially on a cold autumn day, but when we don’t have the time or cash to be able to ‘get away’ what can we do to help create a more relaxing environment within our own homes?
Bursting at the seams?
Firstly, let’s have a look in our wardrobes. As you open the door, firstly let’s have a good look at the contents:
Is it a mish-mash of colours and fabrics? Do you have clothes that no longer fit? Have some of the clothes been unworn for over two years? Maybe, it’s time to have a good clear out!
Accumulating more stress
You may have seen one of the programmes on the television showing people who have cluttered homes, or maybe you have a friend who likes to hoard things. There are many studies that show that clutter and hoarding can lead to or be a sign of anxiety and/or depression.
We then manage to get the wardrobe door open, the quashed in clothes mean that we only get to see a small fraction of the clothes in there. However, we begin to try on the clothes – do you feel good in them? No? Time to be brutal – get rid of the ones that no longer fit by donating them to a local charity.
Maybe it’s the colour.
Light up your life!
Claire Butler (formerly Bunton) is an award-winning Image Consultant and owner of ‘The Style Expert’ in Norfolk, UK. She states that “Discovering the best colours for you is like waving a magic wand. You instantly look healthier, your eyes shining, your skin clearer, even your jaw line more defined, and your confidence will soar.” Feeling great in the clothes that you wear is a great way of boosting your mood and improving your well-being.
You can find out more about Mrs. Butler on her website.
Sentimental value, or attachment
Is not as simple as just throwing out our clothes though, our whole environment has an influence on our state of mind. From the colours we choose, to the accessories, storage, and objects that we surround ourselves with.
Excessive clutter and disorganization can be symptoms of other health problems. It could be that someone’s physical health may be preventing them from doing the housework and causing their environment to deteriorate.
Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and grief can prevent people from organizing their environment as they often struggle to deal with things like paperwork and cleaning, which may result in clutter accumulating. At worst, they may begin extreme hoarding, as they hang on to objects as an attachment. This condition is believed by many experts believe to be a mental illness in its own right. You can find out more about this research on the New York Times digest.
Research shows that personal preference, previous experiences, upbringing, etcetera, will influence the effect individual colours have on us. Many of us will associate colours with memories, whether it is associated with a rival football team, a school uniform or a memory of a person.
There is lots of research showing that certain colours can influence our mood. For example, the colour red is used on warning signs, so is symbolic of danger. Blue is associated with water, so associated with calmness. You can find more information about this on Psychology Today or Colour-affects.
Light up your life!
There is some evidence that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve depression and anxiety and hospitals and other care providers will now factor this in when decorating their centres.
Educational establishments go to great lengths to create the right learning environment for their students, from the paint colour, lighting, furniture, down to the images and font on their wall displays. There is a lot of research out there suggesting that student’s grades can be improved greatly with just a few small changes. You can find more information on one of these studies on the Guardian Online Paper.
Wonders at work
Many employers are now beginning to consider the work environment and the impact that it has on the performance of their employees: with many now encouraging employees to work from the comfort of their own home in order to help them feel happier and able to work more flexibly. Other have introduced standing desks, or breakout areas as a way of encouraging staff to interact thus helping to improve the well-being of their employees.
Once you have decluttered your wardrobe and considered your use of colour, its best to think about what the space is being used for.
Let’s sleep on it!
Bedrooms should be seen as areas for relaxation, ideally, they should not be places where gadgets such as games consoles should be kept. If your mind associated your bedroom purely with relaxation and sleep, you will find it much easier to relax and fall to sleep.
Cooking up trouble
Kitchens need to by hygienic therefore work surfaces can be kept clean easier if they are clutter free, and free from animals. Having clutter-free surfaces will also increase your workflow as you will have more space available for your ingredients and equipment. Decluttering will also help to prevent hazards. Many slips and trips are caused by wires and objects being left on the floor.
It only takes a minute
As the darker nights begin to draw in, try spending just 30 minutes a day on decluttering – take just one set of drawers at a time, or one corner of a room. At the end of the week not only will you have a clutter-free space that you will be proud of, but you will have burnt off a few extra calories and be on your way to a happier and healthier you!