Tip of the Week: Cleaning up the home can LOWER your stress hormones, which is great for the immune system
(NaturalHealth365) Curious about how to clean your home in the most effective way possible? And, more importantly, why you should do it? Keep reading for perhaps a surprising reason linked to your immune system.
While there are more ways than one to get the job done, the important takeaway is to actually do it. It turns out that the cleanliness of your living space could have a much greater effect on your physical and mental health than you may realize.
Research, including a 2013 study published in Psychological Science, reveals some incredible insights regarding the effect of a messy vs tidy home on a person’s decision-making, stress level, and mood.
Health tip of the week: Clean your home to LOWER your stress hormones
The 2013 study, telling titled “Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity“, included three separate experiments on the link between the cleanliness and orderliness of a living space and a person’s decision making. While one of the experiments found that being in a messy space seemed to enhance creativity for some participants, being in an orderly room increased a person’s likelihood of donating money and choosing healthier snacks!
Another study out of Indiana University revealed that people who report having clean homes also tend to report more physical activity than people who live in messier environments. One hypothesis is that cleaning and tidying a home is a decent source of physical activity.
It could also be that people who are more likely to stay active are also more likely to remain organized in their houses. Either way, it’s an important correlation worth exploring if you’re looking for an effective, cost-efficient, and productive way to support your well-being.
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Yet another study from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin determined that the more cluttered or messy a home was, the more tired and depressed the homeowner felt.
Importantly, people who lived in messy homes also had greater levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone associated with damaging health effects if it remains chronically elevated. Such findings were noted even after the researchers of this 2010 study controlled for confounding factors like neuroticism or marital satisfaction.
And let’s not forget – keeping a tidy home can also reduce your exposure to many common allergens and irritants, especially if you use non-toxic household cleaning products.
Again, this research isn’t necessarily able to say that the cleanliness of a person’s home directly causes these effects. But the correlation makes perfect intuitive sense. People who feel depressed, stressed, and moody often lack energy necessary to maintain a clean space – and a cluttered and unclean space can contribute to overwhelm, frustration, and lowered moods, including anxiety and depression.
Look around your home and ask yourself: Does your external environment in anyway mirror or reflect your internal environment?
Want to keep a tidier home? Here are 5 housecleaning tips from professionals
You don’t have to wait for spring cleaning or even the New Year to begin a new housekeeping habit. Here are five simple strategies to keep in mind:
- Don’t try to do it all at once. Tackle the basics with frequency before worrying about other smaller, less-trafficked areas. Just be sure to do the more important tasks – e.g., cleaning the bathtub or shower – at least once every other week.
- Clean when it’s bright outside! It’ll help you see clearly all the dirt and grime.
- Store your cleaning tools (including rags, rubber gloves, and extra paper towels) near areas where you need to use them. It’ll save you the hassle of walking all around the house just to gather your supplies.
- Vacuum and clean the floors last to make sure you catch any debris or allergens that fall to the ground as you clean higher areas in your home.
- Play music or your favorite podcast.
Bottom line: Don’t make it stressful (enjoy the process) and know that a cleaner home will produce positive results in your life. And, of course, get started today.
Sources for this article include: