It may be surprising to hear, but spending a little bit of time and money getting your home organized may actually produce fairly significant improvements in your personal health. Now, if you’ve already read this article from last month, then you have heard me talk about some of the actual physical benefits of ridding your home of clutter, things like lower stress levels and reduced allergies. This post is different. This post will show you how to use the process of organizing your home to improve your general health and put yourself on a road to greater well-being.
Sound too esoteric for you? Well, it isn’t just some mystical axiom when people say that our outer worlds are a reflection of our inner minds. There is actually a good bit of research on the subject, and evidence shows a direct correlation between a cluttered home and serious health issues like obesity, anxiety, stress and depression.
So what is your home saying about your health?
Are there random piles of junk scattered about your countertops and workspaces?
Is everything that you need to get ready in the morning simply lined around your sink without regard for any sort of order or visual appeal?
Are your storage areas, like, say, that extra closet, overflowing with all those things you’re still trying to find time to “go through”?
Do you choose your daily clothes from the dryer, where your clean clothes have sat since the weekend when you ran the load of laundry?
If you answered yes to any (or even all) of these questions, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Most of us lead busy lives, and besides, so what if your private bathroom or that extra closet looks bad? No one is supposed to see those, right? When company comes over, they don’t see that mess. “My home is presentable. Superficially, at least.”
Well, hmm. Let’s think about that. If your exterior world is an extension of your inner one, what else do you neglect, say, with regard to your health or well-being, in favor of more superficial issues?
This is exactly the trend that health professionals have been noticing in recent years. People with messy houses have messy habits that stretch beyond cleanliness. People who neglect simple chores like putting away their laundry or making their bed often neglect eating well. It is a lack of self-discipline that never only surfaces in one particular area of people’s lives. Issues like that are usually fairly comprehensive, and they can be predictive.
It makes sense if you think about it.
People who are too lazy to make their bed are likely too lazy to prepare healthy evening meals and settle for unhealthy, easy dinners like fast food, delivery, or take out.
People who procrastinate tasks they have made for themselves like “cleaning out that storage closet” also procrastinate changes they want to make in their lives, like, “I’m going to start working out three nights a week.”
Makes sense, right?
"But," you may be saying right now, "those are correlations. The title says 'Organizing my home will improve my health.' How’s that?"
Great question, imaginary reader. The answer is because you are setting habits. Here is a link to a great article about the benefits of making your bed first thing in the morning. The point isn’t that the actual act of making your bed will improve your health (unless maybe you run about 500 laps around the bed while you do so). The point is creating routines and discipline for yourself.
By doing something as seemingly simple as regular household chores with regularity, you will create a new way of living for yourself, a way that is disciplined. Suddenly, it will become routine to cook a decent meal for your family every night, the way that walking straight over to the couch and throwing yourself down is routine right now. And the running regiment you vowed to undertake? That'll be routine too.
You see, you reflect your attitude and mental state on the world around you, but that also works in reverse. You can create a better place around you so that your mind will be tricked into thinking it isn’t a procrastinator.
Remember this breakthrough? Scientists discovered that forcing yourself to smile actually improved your mood. The smile doesn’t have to be sincere. It doesn’t matter. The practice of organizing your home to improve your mental well-being is exactly the same. You are changing your patterns and creating an environment around that is more conducive to mental and emotional health.