Clean away your depression and get on the road to happiness

Clean away your depression and get on the road to happiness

Over the past few months, Marie Kondo and her organization system has swept the country. It’s based on the idea that you choose joy when you are cleaning and organizing your house. You divest yourself of physical objects you have that do not bring you joy. However, there is scientific proof that simply getting rid of clutter can make you happier and healthier.

One study done back in 2010 linked the cleanliness of a home with cortisol levels – so the cleaner the house the lower the stress levels were. The scientists conducting the study measured this by asking the subjects to describe their home. The subjects took walking tours of their homes and described them. They divided the homes into two categories: Those homes that were more cluttered or had chores unfinished, were more likely to be depressed and stressed. Those with cleaner, restorative homes were not. So, by merely reducing clutter in your home, you can have a direct, measurable impact on your mental and physical health.

Another study conducted in 2011 found that clutter can lead to distraction of other tasks. This not only affects your home but your workplace as well. The study showed when you see objects that are not directly related to the task at hand, they will distract you. This is not on a conscious level. It’s been theorized this is the reason when people have a big project, they find themselves tidying up without even thinking about it. Your brain is attempting to get your utmost attention by removing any potential for interruption by nagging you to clean your area. If you make it a practice to have your work and home areas clean, you can save yourself time and make sure that the task at hand has your complete focus.

Cleanliness is directly tied to depression. One of the main signs of depression is losing sight of your daily tasks. You let the vacuuming, dishes and trash go for a while and the next thing you know, you’re faced with a big, dusty mess. You think to yourself “it’s too much.” You’ve already decided it’s something you cannot overcome and thus you sink further into your depression. If you organize and clean up that mess, starting small, you’ll find you’re mood improve when you are looking at an organized, open space.

The most important part of keeping your home or work area clean is diligence. Smaller tasks are easier to tackle than larger tasks. You can carry out all of this by making cleaning up a part of your daily routine. Once you get into the rhythm of cleaning, you’ll find yourself washing and drying that cup of coffee as naturally as you felt making it. Your laundry will remain folded and in your drawer instead of all over your floor and closet. It’s all about making a routine for yourself and following through. Once you do that, you’ll be well on your way to a clear space and more importantly, a clear mind.

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