how clutter affects us
Have you ever realized that being in a clean and tidy environment actually calms you down and allows you to be more productive? When you’re surrounded by stacks of papers and a whole lot of mess, you’ll find that you tend to feel more frustrated and less able to focus.
1. Clutter decreases our ability to focus
According to a study by Princeton University Neuroscience Institute,
"Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”
In simple terms, it means that the mere presence of clutter in our surroundings actually distracts us, even when we don't realize it. Therefore we are less inclined to process information properly, and it affects our chain of thoughts. With clutter present in our surroundings, it is constantly competing for our attention, decreasing our ability to focus, and drawing our attention away from what we should be focusing on. This in fact puts extra workload on our senses, exhausting our mind.
2. Clutter increases our stress levels
When we find that we have trouble concentrating, we put more pressure on our minds, and in return it increases our stress levels. Additionally, our stress levels are also increasing because the presence of clutter simply makes our space messy, and how can our minds (and body) ever be relaxed and at ease in a messy environment? As all of us should know, excess stress can be the source of many health issues, and is therefore extremely unhealthy for our body.
3. Clutter weighs us down mentally
Moreover, clutter also has the ability to weigh us down mentally. Decluttering using the Konmari method previously actually helped me lift a huge burden off my mind, which helped me greatly during periods where I was extra stressed out.
Why is this so? This is because when we get home to a cluttered space at the end of the day, it sends silent signals to our brains that our work is never done — hello, there is still lots of tidying up to do! Therefore, exhausting us out mentally. Moreover, it has the ability to let us feel all sorts of other negative emotions such as anxiety, frustration, impatience, guilt, and sadness.
Associated Negative Emotions
Anxiety — We may feel more anxious when we are faced with clutter because it reminds us of how much work it's going to take to clean up all this mess.
Frustration — We may feel frustrated when we see clutter lying all over the house because things are constantly piling up and it feels as though it's adding on and on to our never ending list of struggles and worries.
Impatience — When we have to find a particular item from a pile of clutter, it's like finding a needle in a haystack. This makes us feel horribly impatient and again, frustrated — HOW and WHEN am I going to find what I need?!
Guilt — Sometimes, we buy things on impulse. And ever since buying it, it's just been lying there waiting for us to pick it up and use it one day — but that day never comes. So everyday it's just sitting in that corner, constantly reminding us of the poor choices that we've made, and how much money we've wasted. This causes us to feel guilt. Moreover, when friends and relatives come by our place, we may also feel guilt for being so disorganized and untidy.
Sadness — Amongst those clutter, there are definitely some sentimental things from our pasts, and they may remind us of sad events that happened during those times. Therefore, triggering unhappiness in our minds.
All these negative emotions are absolutely not beneficial for our mental well-being. It constantly reminds us that we are incapable of achieving great things. Because how are we going to achieve great things when we are incapable of completing a mere task of tidying up our space?
But, don't let those negative thoughts control our minds!
Remember, we are in control of everything in our lives — our health, our surroundings, our feelings.
So reach out and grab that power. Free your space from clutter — Let go of past feelings and burdens, and make space for things that actually mean something and spark joy in your present life.