Can A Messy House Cause Anxiety?

CAN A MESSY HOUSE CAUSE ANXIETY

Anyone can experience anxiety at any point in their lives. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear or unease. This feeling can be mild to severe and can even take over everyday life and require medical treatment. Feeling anxious from time to time is completely normal, as the stresses of every life can get to the best of us.

In fact, you may have noticed that tense, uneasy feeling associated with tidying and decluttering a messy house. This is very common. When we wake up each morning, if the first thing we see is mess, clutter, chaos etc., it’s going to determine our mood for the rest of the day. 

Have you ever felt that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you walk past that big pile of clothes on your bed or a mountain of dishes in the kitchen? You’re probably feeling that way because of clutter anxiety.

After all, anxiety is your body’s natural reaction to stress. So, if your home is full of clutter and mess, it can cause you to struggle with feeling relaxed, particularly if you’ve got nowhere to sit because your couch is covered in clutter!

But luckily this can all be helped by cleaning and decluttering. We know this seems easier said than done, but, just take it one room at a time, and you’ll feel better for it.

Is clutter a sign of anxiety?

When we talk about ‘clutter’ we’re referring to a poorly organized, messy collection of belongings in your home or even your desk at work, basically anywhere you spend the majority of your time.

Studies have shown that a cluttered living space can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. The worse the clutter gets, the more out of control you feel, which leads to anxiety.

But, is a cluttered house a sign of pre-existing anxiety and therefore a side effect rather than a cause for some people?

Ever heard the phrase ‘a clear space is a clear mind’? Well, it works both ways.

Those struggling with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression can often go through stages of feeling either not up to tidying and cleaning or simply not caring to. This creates a vicious cycle of anxiety-caused clutter followed by clutter-caused anxiety, and repeat.

Does clutter make you depressed?

No one’s experience with depression is the same and not all people who live with depression suffer with clinical depression or struggle with these issues every day. However, we are all susceptible to experiencing feelings of depression at some point in our lives due to a number of external factors.

Depression is hard to define and is rarely caused by just one single issue. But, that being said, a clutter-filled home can affect your ability to relax, focus, and even sleep and has been known to cause feelings of helplessness and anxiety.

These feelings of anxiety can mount up and the worse it gets, the more likely it is to lead to feelings of depression. Moreover, feelings of depression are also linked to causing people to be less vigilant or motivated when it comes to tidying up. This then creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of.

Plus, clutter and mess can cause feelings of depression because if you are unhappy and uncomfortable in the space you’re living in, you’re going to feel down and helpless. This can also cause feelings of embarrassment if you have people over, and they comment on the mess or have nowhere nice to sit because your house is so messy.

Does cleaning help anxiety?

There’s plenty of research into the positive effect cleaning can have on our mental health, particularly in recent years with the likes of clean queen Marie Kondo making it her mission to convince us to organize our homes. As a result, people have become increasingly aware of how clutter in our homes can clutter our minds.

Cleaning and decluttering can definitely help with feelings of anxiety, particularly if the reason you are feeling anxious to begin with is clutter-related.

If our home feels messy and disorganized, we can feel chaotic and anxious. So, by taking the initiative to organize and declutter, it gives us more breathing space and a nicer home to live in. This has a great impact on our overall mood.

This can of course be easier said than done, but if you take it slow and go one room or even one corner at a time, you’ll have less stuff weighing you down and a fresh outlook.

Even if you just do a little bit every day, you’ll feel more and more motivated and energized to keep going and declutter every aspect of your life.

Other underlying causes of anxiety will of course require separate treatment but, that’s not to say having a nice clean and organized living space won’t help you to feel better and more comfortable.

How do I declutter my home?

It can seem impossible to know where to begin when it comes to decluttering a space. If you find yourself faced with a mountain of clothes to organize or an office space cluttered with books, folders and boxes taking over your home, it can really get you down.

But, if you take it one step at a time, even the messiest space can become organized and spacious once again. 

We’ve compiled a few tips on how to easily declutter your home:

  • Start with the easiest items first – look around for anything that could be disposed of straight away to get you started and clear up some space
  • Break up the space into easy to tackle bitesize sections
  • Move larger items to one side to instantly create more space in the room to give you a sense of accomplishment to spur you on
  • Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by trying to complete a whole room in one day. Instead, just set yourself a target to complete one bitesize section 

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Can a Messy House Cause Anxiety?

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