How does clutter lead to anxiety and stress?

In a world where everyone strives for perfection, anything dirty can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Whether you have a messy life or a messy bedroom, all of these can trigger anxiety and stress. A recent study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women are more prone to anxiety when they are in a messy home. According to research, when women were placed in a disorganized or messy home, they felt more tension and feelings of sadness in their bodies. Their bodies produce more cortisol, the stress hormone. On the other hand, when women lived in cleaner homes, they felt less likely to feel sad during the day. It was interesting to find that it didn’t have much effect on men.

Health Shots contacted Jaisleen Kaur, Image Consultant, Life Coach and Soft Skills Trainer, Dehradun, to understand the link between clutter and anxiety.

The link between clutter and anxiety

The link between messy rooms or homes and anxiety is multifaceted, encompassing various factors that impact our daily lives. These points highlight the broader implications of clutter on mental wellbeing, from procrastination and poor sleep quality to financial stress and emotional attachment. Recognizing the importance of our living environment and taking steps to declutter it can help relieve anxiety and improve overall mental health. While it may seem inconsequential, the state of our environment can have a profound impact on our mental state in the ways listed below.

Staying calm in a messy room is difficult for women, a study suggests. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

1. Visual overload

“A cluttered environment can bombard our senses with excessive stimuli, leading to sensory overload. This overload can be overwhelming and exhausting, as our brains struggle to filter out irrelevant information. Constant visual chaos can cause stress and anxiety, making it difficult to relax in our own space. Visual clutter, such as piles of papers, scattered objects or disorganized furniture, can prevent our minds from finding a sense of calm,” explains the expert.

2. Decision fatigue

Clutter in our living spaces often leads to decision fatigue. When faced with a cluttered environment, we are faced with many decisions: where to place things, what to clean first, and how to navigate the space. These seemingly trivial decisions can add up and deplete our mental energy, leaving us mentally exhausted and anxious. The cognitive load of constantly making these decisions can contribute to increased stress levels.

3. Feeling out of control

The expert says: “A messy room can evoke feelings of loss of control. When we can’t find what we need or our space seems chaotic, it can lead to feelings of helplessness and helplessness, contributing to increased anxiety levels. Lack of organization can make our lives seem just as messy, intensifying feelings of unease and worry.”

4. Physical and mental connection

Living in a cluttered environment can lead to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This physical response to disorder can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. The disorder-stress relationship is a vicious cycle, with disorder causing stress and stress making it more difficult to manage the disorder. High levels of cortisol are associated with a range of physical and mental health problems, making the disorder’s impact on our overall well-being all the more significant.

5. Reduced productivity

“A cluttered space can hinder productivity and concentration. When we are constantly surrounded by disorganization, it can be difficult to focus on tasks. The presence of clutter can create a distracting environment, leading to increased stress and anxiety around meeting deadlines and managing responsibilities. This reduced productivity can, in turn, contribute to feelings of inadequacy and increased stress levels,” adds our expert.

messy room and anxiety
A messy room can trigger symptoms of stress and anxiety in women. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Shame, embarrassment and social isolation

A messy environment can also lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment. When friends or family visit, the anxiety of discovering a cluttered space can be overwhelming, causing social anxiety and avoidance behaviors. These emotions can further isolate individuals, thereby exacerbating their anxiety.

7. Procrastination and avoidance

A cluttered environment can lead to procrastination and avoidance behaviors. When faced with a messy space, individuals may find it easier to delay important tasks or avoid cleaning altogether. This avoidance can lead to increased anxiety as deadlines approach, and clutter continues to pile up.

8. Impaired sleep quality

The expert says: “Psychologists have noted that a cluttered bedroom can have an impact on the quality of sleep. A disorganized sleep environment can lead to restlessness and difficulty falling asleep, as our minds struggle to relax in the presence of chaos. Poor sleep, in turn, contributes to increased levels of anxiety and stress.”

9. Financial Stress

A cluttered environment can lead to financial stress. Lost invoices or neglected financial documents in a cluttered space can lead to missed payments, fines or late fees. This financial burden can contribute to increased anxiety.

10. Difficulty focusing on yourself

“A cluttered home can make it difficult to follow a good self-care routine. Constant visual distractions and mental clutter can make it difficult to concentrate on activities that promote mental well-being, such as meditation, yoga or simply finding a quiet space to relax,” says the expert.

11. Emotional attachment to disorder

The emotional attachment people may have to clutter can also be a source of anxiety. Letting go of sentimental items or things that represent past experiences can be emotionally challenging, creating a mental tug of war between decluttering and holding on to the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *