I love going in to my office now that it is decluttered. It’s a lighter space and my mood is lighter as well. A study released this summer conducted by researchers at the UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) bears out my personal experience. It turns out that clutter causes depression. The team of sociologist, anthropologists and archaeologists at the CELF found that clutter effects not only our mood but our self-esteem as well.
This phenomenon seems to be more profound in woman. Our cortisol level increases in the face of clutter. If you remember, cortisol is the “stress hormone” and a real enemy of happiness and contentment. In addition, we equate tidiness with a happy and successful life.
Clutter causes stress by:
- bombarding us with stimuli
- distracting us from our goals
- makes it difficult to relax
- makes us feel guilty and embarrassed
- is a constant reminder of thing undone
For me the most stress producing consequence of clutter is the inability to get things done. Everything takes more time because I waste time looking for things I need. It just causes a paralysis that prevents me from moving forward.
Furthermore, it becomes a vicious cycle. The clutter is depressing and being depressed leads to low energy. Low energy leads to more mess. A messy kitchen doesn’t inspire you to cook. A messy office leads to missed payments. It is hard to feel romantic when the bed and floor are covered with clothes. Things stay broken because you can’t find the tools to fix them.
Besides your mental and emotional health, clutter can effect your physical health. The resulting stress can cause headaches, increased blood pressure, insomnia, diabetes, poor digestion and even weight gain!