First, it is just about feeling blue, and then you don’t want to go out and meet your friends; you come up with excuses, you call in sick, and when you scroll through Facebook you see how much fun the others had, and you can’t just stop but feel sorry for yourself.
It all become a slippery slope; first, it is just one missed gathering, then there are sleepless nights, irritation, and a constant feeling of despair.
Anxiety and depression can be tough to deal with, and only people who go through it can understand the whirlpool going on in mind.
Signs and symptoms
Anxiety and depression are quite common and often go unreported. According to statistics, nearly 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. Fifty percent of the people who experience depression also contract anxiety disorders. As far as anxiety itself is considered, around 3.8% of the world population experiences it.
Mental illnesses do not discriminate; anyone can develop them. However, studies show that women are more likely to develop anxiety as compared to men and people who are already suffering from a chronic disease are 70 percent vulnerable to anxiety. The likelihood also increases after a trauma, such as the loss of a loved one. People with depression often feel confused; they tend to experience eating problems; they lose interest in things that they used to enjoy and frequently get headaches or cramps.
It wouldn’t be wrong to call depression or anxiety as silent culprits since the symptoms are not apparent and are likely to be mistaken as mere sadness. Sadness, however, is short-lived and usually gets better with time, but when someone constantly feels worthless and has suicidal thoughts, it means that they are suffering from depression.
Not everyone suffers in the same manner; some people have extreme symptoms that can only be treated with proper consultation with a psychiatrist, while some people have mild symptoms that can be relieved through therapy and small lifestyle changes. Taking the right diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help symptoms to some extent. It is also surprising that cleaning also has a soothing effect for someone going through troubled times.
What clutter does to the brain
You come in and throw your stuff and then before you know it there is a tsunami in your room, and you just don’t how to deal with or where to start. No one enjoys clutter on purpose, and that is why perhaps that the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo became a huge hit. Marie Kondo highlighted that you only need to keep those things that bring you joy. If they don’t get rid of them and there is a good reason that you should.
Clutter bombards your brain with excessive stimuli. So your mind is pulled in all sorts of directions. You constantly think if you should clean up, put your things away, or just go about with your business. It takes away your focus from the things that matter. This is not good for your cognitive functions.
A study conducted in 2010 also shows a link between high cortisol levels and clutter. The study was conducted on heterosexual couples, and it found out that couples who lived in cluttered places tend to have high cortisol levels even when they are supposed to drop. Studies show that stress caused by cortisol can lead to avoidance strategies such as over eating, binge-watching Netflix, or oversleeping, thus creating a snowball effect on your mental health.
A vicious cycle turns on whereby you are already worried, and then clutter magnifies your problems. First, there is just a pile of laundry, and before you know it, it gets infested with bed bugs.
Why cleaning helps
Knowing that clutter creates havoc in your mind, cleaning helps it calm down. In fact, for some people, cleaning has the same effect as meditation. This is probably because cleaning gives a sense of mastery and control over your environment. When life is not going your way, cleaning makes you think that you can control at least some aspect of your life.
A clean room and order in the house make a person feel safe to move around, hence creating stress-relieving effects on the body. Mentioned in cell.com, a study found that people who felt anxious speaking in public ran cleaning cloth on things more than people who didn’t.
Anxiety can throw you off in a panic state where you freak out because you ant figure out where or how to start and you may end up Googling simple stuff such as how to use bed bug spray. Cleaning thus gives you a small world of your own where you dictate what happens. An anxious mind is often stuck at where to start and cleaning the bathroom or setting up your bed gives you instant results and seeing that can be a lot of relief for an anxious mind.
It is known that exercise tends to relieve anxiety. However, it is not true for everyone. Some people don’t feel like exercising when they are feeling blue and cleaning sort of keeps them active. It increases the heart rate and also releases endorphins so you can feel happy without entering the gym.
Don’t ignore your problem
While cleaning does help calm down an anxious mind, it is not the solution to your problem. If you are obsessed with cleaning all the time, then there might be some underlying issue that you are facing such obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is different from just cleaning to relax a troubled mind. With OCD, you are always worried about being infected by germs, and if ignored, you may end up losing control and harming yourself. In extreme cases, it is better if you consult a psychologist to help you get relief from your symptoms. Also, don’t ignore the benefit of lifestyle changes. Pay attention to your diet and exercise regime. They also contribute to your wellbeing.