By Angie Comer
We are all products of our environment, and believe it or not, the environment that we create can affect our physical, mental and emotional health in a positive or negative way. The simple act of organizing our physical surroundings can have profound health benefits.
A REDUCTION IN ANXIETY
The sight of a room filled with clutter or having no plan for the day can induce a stress response. Stress is known to be a major contributing factor to chronic disease.
Our brain seeks order, and when it cannot find it, we feel overwhelmed and anxious. Waking up unprepared for the day, disorganized, finds us searching for misplaced items, chronically running late, stepping over dirty laundry. As a result, we begin our day feeling rushed, unsettled, not a little frustrated. All these feelings naturally trickle down into the rest of our day, week, and our life.
AN IMPROVEMENT IN FOCUS LEVELS
Clutter is a distraction and affects our ability to focus on the task at hand. It can be physical or mental clutter. When our surroundings or our mind are cluttered and disorganized, our brain cannot process information clearly. Getting up 30 minutes earlier can make a huge difference in our ability to focus. Use the extra time to sit quietly, clear your thoughts, plan your day, and straighten up the house. You will have a sense of accomplishment that allows you to start your day feeling relaxed and calm, ready to focus on whatever the day brings.
IMPROVES QUALITY OF SLEEP
It is difficult to fall asleep if your mind is racing over all of the things you need to do or the things that you haven’t yet done. You find yourself lying in bed making a mental “to-do” list for the next day instead of sleeping. I suggest keeping a journal by your bed. Each night, take 15 minutes to write down your thoughts, feelings, and a “to-do list.” Clear your mind before going to sleep. Dumping your brain onto paper at night relieves your mind of those nagging thoughts. The next morning you wake up rested, with an organized list of the things that you intend to accomplish that day.
IMPROVED EATING HABITS
If we are feeling anxiety or stress, we often tend to overeat as a coping mechanism. Procrastinating with a dish of ice cream can momentarily be more enjoyable than folding laundry. However, this creates unhealthy habits. If you take the time to organize your kitchen and prepare weekly meal plans, you will also be able to fill your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy snacks. You prevent temptation and have a positive impact on your waistline as well! We have all heard the saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” Chances are if your house is disorganized, most likely your car and workspace aren’t much different. Your surroundings and environment impact your mood, thoughts, and feelings. An organized environment will produce a peaceful mind, decrease the stress hormones in your body, and result in a healthier you.