Your physical environment is connected to your mental well-being in myriad ways. Knowing how your surroundings affect your mental health can help you understand and overcome obstacles. On the same token, some things are beneficial and can improve your outlook.
Here are four factors that affect your emotions and how to make things work in your favor.
1. Clutter Around You
Too much decor or stimulation can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed, adversely affecting your mental health. A messy environment can cause tension and other negative emotions that can trigger or exacerbate mental conditions. Clutter can also affect your sleep schedule and make it harder to get adequate rest.
Being surrounded by clutter can increase your cortisone. Higher levels are linked to anxiety, OCD and chronic stress. Tidy up your environment to see if your stress decreases and you feel more in control. Encourage family members to help eliminate clutter and organize your space. Minimalism has been trending for a while now, and one of the reasons it’s so popular is that having fewer material items can lead to more happiness and less stress.
2. Lack of Visual Stimulation
What you see around you significantly affects your mental health. Color psychology refers to how certain shades provoke feelings and reactions, like how blue promotes calmness and red signifies alertness, danger or love. Colors can affect people differently, so you should notice how colors affect you and decorate accordingly.
Environments that lack visual stimulation can minimize your creativity and productivity and put you in a bad mood. Your senses significantly affect how you feel. A bright, loud room can promote anxiety, while a warm, dimly lit room can relax you.
Try adding artwork or photos that have special meaning for you, plants to help clear the air and bring the outdoors in, and mementos from trips with friends or family. These items will give you something to smile about and boost your mood.
3. Your Workspace
There are so many factors about work that can affect your mental health. A positive environment can improve your mental health and overall outlook. Workspace clutter can make it challenging to focus and be productive, so ensure your office and desk are clean and clear.
Work also typically evokes urgent emotions generated by deadlines or a fast-paced environment. Demanding schedules are intense, time-consuming and often all-encompassing, which can take a toll on your mental health. Set boundaries and ensure you have time to care for yourself mentally and physically. Other factors that can affect your mental health are unclear expectations, lack of training, inflexible work hours and poor work-life balance.
Practice self-care and do everything in your power not to burn out. Ensure that you receive adequate support at your workplace by reaching out when you feel confused or need help on a project. Employers should take the necessary steps to make all employees feel safe and supported during their workday. A toxic environment isn’t good for your mental or physical health. If you are unhappy, consider looking for another job — life is too short.
4. Your Social Circle
Isolation can contribute to depression and other mental health concerns. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety and can affect your entire state of being. You must connect with people on a deep level or you’ll feel isolated and alone. Find friends that share the same values as you to enrich your life. Aligning goals and connecting with like-minded people can boost your mood and increase your fulfillment, significantly promoting positive mental health.
Unhealthy relationships or toxic behavior shouldn’t have rent-free space in your life. Inconsistency and unreliability can significantly contribute to your stress. Being around people you trust and feel comfortable with can promote calmness and a safe space that is important to your well-being.
An unhealthy or toxic social circle can bring you down in more ways than one. You can feel alone in a room full of people, and that means you are surrounding yourself with the wrong ones. You are designed to be social — to need and rely on others to fuel and encourage you, not bring you down.
How Your Environment Can Affect Mental Health
Participating in activities that aren’t good for your physical health can also affect you mentally. Make necessary lifestyle changes to address factors that could harm your mental health, like smoking, substance abuse, or exposure to hazardous or extreme conditions. Once you do that, you will find your emotional outlook improves and you’ll benefit from a renewed lust for life.