10 Ways Your Environment Affects Your Mental Health & How You Can Improve It

By Krista

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Last Updated: March 10, 2022

It’s no secret that an unhealthy environment can quickly lead to the deterioration of your physical and mental health. From toxic people to literal toxins, such as mold, where you spend your time matters! 

Creating a healthy environment in which you can thrive is critical to your happiness and success.

Like Marie Kondo has said, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.”

Your mental health and environment have undeniable links. In this article, we’re going to explore those associations in more detail, as well as provide tips on how you can improve your surroundings — leading to enhanced health and happiness.

 

Untangling the Link Between Your Environment & Wellness

Inevitably, obvious factors, such as air quality and dust, impact how we feel. Yet, the lesser known side of things is that your environment, including how clean it is, can significantly alter your mental state. 

How Does the Environment Affect Well-Being?

While there is a lot of weight put on the fact that we control our thoughts, it’s undeniable that external factors still have influence. For instance, if your apartment is located in a basement and it’s the dead of winter, you probably aren’t getting enough sunshine.

In turn, this can drastically impact your mood, along with your sleep-wake cycle.

And if you’re leaving in a mess and struggling with anxiety, you might also notice your anxiety increase. Your mental health and environment are very intricately linked. We’ll dive more into this in the sections below. But first…

How Do Environmental Factors Affect Your Health? 

We also know that our physical health and mental health are connected to one another. When one takes a hit, so does the other. For instance, if you’re living in a home with mold, you might experience increased depression, anxiety, decreased concentration, and brain fog, along with physical symptoms, such as headaches, breathing issues, and fatigue.

Our mental health and physical health don’t exist in entirely separate bubbles. So, let’s explore how your home environment might be impacting your mental health a bit more (and in turn, maybe your physical health as well!).

 

How Your Home Affects Your Mental Health

Your home environment can impact your mental health in a variety of ways — some of which you may not have thought of before. So, what might be getting you down in the dumps? And how can you improve it?

1. Natural vs Artificial Light

Your mental and physical health both rely on natural light from the sun. In fact, the body makes about 90% of its vitamin D from sunshine. If you’re only getting exposed to artificial light (such as blue light which can actually lead to depression symptoms), you aren’t getting those light rays your body needs.

While moving might be out of the question, getting outside for even just 30 minutes a day can help enhance your mental health. Alternatively, you may want to consider opening your blinds during the day. Or if you work from home, perhaps you might want to sit closer to a window where sunshine is streaming in.

2. Room Colors

Surprisingly, the color your choose to paint your wall has a huuuuge affect on your mood. Room color psychology is a real thing! For more calming and content colors, go for blue, lavender, white, or a neutral beige.

3. Clutter

The idea of going through your clutter might stress you out. But not going through that clutter and getting it de-cluttered could actually be doing much more harm than good. When clutter takes up our environment, it also takes up space in our mind. It can lead to low energy and increased stress and anxiety.

So, instead of simply allowing clutter to pile up, we recommend planning a time to get to it! Regularly plan cleaning sessions to maintain tidiness, especially in your living space.

4. Dust and Mold

Toxic mold syndrome can lead to insomnia, memory loss, anxiety, depression, confusion, and more. But it’s not just about mold and your mental health. There’s even research linking dust to mental health disturbances and sleep difficulties in the workplace. 

In fact, it’s recommended to dust at least once a month to ensure your mental and physical health don’t get impacted.

When it comes to mold prevention, you want to ensure you keep moisture out and air flow free! If you have found mold, it’s essential to take care of it or hire the pros to do their job.

5. Furniture Set-Up

If your couch is in the way of walking straight from your kitchen to your front door, maybe it’s not the best place for it. And maybe these small little inefficiencies are adding up, leading to increased irritation and annoyance.

Think about it. Is there a piece of furniture in your home that continues to cause you angst and frustration? This is your sign to move things around!

Related Article: 4 Reasons Why Rearranging Your Furniture is Good For You

6. Air Purity

Your air quality might not be something you think of all that often. You breathe it in and breathe it out, all is good! Well, it might not be.

Many toxins accumulate in our environment, especially if they aren’t being filtered properly. You’ll want to check the air filters in your home around every 6-12 months. On top of this, you might want to consider adding certain entities, such as detoxifying plants, to amp up the filtration in your home.

While air purifiers might also help, there isn’t very much evidence indicating they do a whole lot. However, they do remove some pollutants, and at the end of the day, every little bit counts.

Related Article: How Having Houseplants Lowers Your Stress & Improves Your Mental Health

7. Ease of Use

We already talked about furniture in relation to this, but what about everything else in your home?

  • Do your window locks work and can you open them easily?
  • What about your kitchen?
  • Does it make sense where the appliances are stored or located?
  • Is it easy to locate items?
  • In your bedroom, does your set-up make sense for where you store your clothes and other items?

These are just a few things you want to think about when it comes to your home environment and mental health. Again, those minor irritations add up, potentially taking away from where your mental health could be. It’s important to take note and fix these small and minor mishaps for a better life.

8. People

Okay, so we couldn’t talk about your environment without referring to who you surround yourself with. When it comes to stress, environment factors don’t just include objects, dust, mold, lighting, color, or furniture. They also involve your relationships.

Relationships provide an abundant amount of meaning to our lives. Thus, the quality of these relationships matter more than you might think. And a person who is eating away at your self-esteem or sprouting abusive comments isn’t someone you need in your life. 

Examine your current relationships and cut out the toxic ones! The truth is you and your mental health don’t need them.

9. Temperature

A healthy environment further includes a comfortable temperature. If you’re sweating buckets without air conditioning or you’re waiting to turn on the heat (which we totally get with the cost of electricity these days!), your mental health is probably suffering as well. 

While you might not be able to necessarily change your home’s temperature, you can layer it up or take off some layers. Finding that ideal temperature where your body doesn’t have to work so hard to maintain it can do wonders for your mood.

10. Familiarity 

This is all about removing triggers in your environment. If looking at that decor your ex-partner bought brings you feelings of sadness, get rid of it! (And maybe start doing some reading on Marie Kondo’s philosophy).

Basically, if an object doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. If all an object does is remind you of bad times and sadness, throw it away or give it away! These small triggers are likely causing you angst you don’t need to re-feel. Clearing your environment of them is a must.

 

How Does Your Personal Environment Impact Your Health & Happiness? 

Assess your surroundings. Do you have a healthy environment? How is your mental health and environment linked? From person to person, this answer may vary. 

Yet, uncovering how you can improve your home environment for better mental health should be a priority, especially with many of us now working from home; we’re spending more time in our environment than ever before.

So, do that assessment. How can you change your surroundings to enhance your mental health and feel good?

Read Next: 3 Simple Ways Rearranging Your Furniture Helps Your Mental Health

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

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