Look Around, Look Within Part 2 – Your Home

Your surroundings say a lot about your mental health 

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May is Mental Health Month so we’re taking a closer look at our surroundings and how it affects our mental health. This week we’ll focus on small steps we can take to make our home a peaceful and welcoming sanctuary. 

Keeping your home tidy is shown to promote calmness and a sense of control over your day-to-day life. Your home doesn’t have to be spotless, but clutter can be harmful to your mental health by contributing to depression, trouble focusing, confusion, and stress.  

Not only can clutter be distracting, but it has been shown to make it harder for your brain to think clearly. Neatness provides predictability, which can cut down on brain fatigue and anxiety. Less time looking for lost items or getting distracted is always a good thing.  

What can you do to create a tidy space?  

Start small. If it feels overwhelming, choose one area to start. Consider setting a timer each day to dedicate a few minutes toward improving your space.  

Be mindful throughout your day. Instead of putting items down and adding to your clutter, get in the habit of putting them away. Small things, like putting clothes away right after they are washed, can help lessen the tasks when you go to clean later.  

Practice mindfulness while cleaning. One study found that people who were mindful while washing dishes – taking time to smell the soap, feel the water, and absorb the experience – reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in mental inspiration. 

After your space feels clean, think about organization. How can you maximize your space and be intentional about organizing to avoid future clutter and mess? Having a clean and organized space can help you feel in control and calm. 

Get rid of unneeded belongings. Periodically going through your place to find items you don’t use or need can go a long way toward keeping your home tidy and clean.  

If you’re taking steps to improve your surroundings but are still struggling with your mental health, you may be experiencing signs of a mental health condition. Take a free, private screening at mhascreening.org to help you figure out what is going on and determine next steps.  

ASI also offers a number of resources to support your mental health

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