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Monday, October 18, 2021

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Cleanliness and order benefit mental health

A study by the University of California in the USA found that people living in messy or dirty houses have higher levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone. According to the study, the state of their habitat can determine whether time spent in them is restorative or stressful.

Another study published in the UK-based British Journal of Sports revealed that taking time off on housework can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Such activities include physical activity that is highly beneficial for the body in general, as well as contributing to mental health.

Cleanliness and order benefit mental health #1

The brain is a constantly forward-looking system, the contextual ordering is more predictable and less stressful for it. Therefore, it is very important to avoid ambiguity. Unexpected events and disorganization increase cortisol and make a person more vulnerable to depressive or anxious states.

In this way, balanced and periodic cleaning and order can help reduce stress levels and positively affect mental health. But as with anything, excesses can cause a variety of problems. Just as dirty and messy homes can affect mood and contribute to mental states that negatively affect people’s lives, the reverse is also harmful and can have negative repercussions.

Cleanliness and order benefit mental health #2

Cleanliness and order are undoubtedly positive behaviors. The problem is that symptoms related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can occur.

What is OCD? According to experts, they are characterized by the presence of imposed repetitive intrusive thoughts. People with OCD persist despite being aware and knowing they are inconsistent or exaggerated.

For example, there are those who check the gas on the stove five times before leaving the house, they can check repeatedly whether the door is closed properly, whether ornaments or different household items are in exactly the same place, if no one warns them. The thought is hard to disappear if they don’t review it. What needs to happen is to reduce the anxiety created by the thought.

Compulsions and repetitive actions occur. It’s a vicious circle because this action triggers the thought to reappear at another time, which can greatly limit daily life and have a huge negative impact on mental health.

Due to the pandemic, we are subject to unprecedented and very prolonged levels of stress. Because of this, many different types of ailments have increased. One of them is OCD and in most cases it manifests itself in cleaning or tidying the house.

With pollution, filth, and especially the pandemic, there are thoughts that everything has to be extravagantly clean and tidy. There are people who already clean their house three times a day, but are not satisfied with it and repeat it over and over.

It is important to distinguish between positive behavior and a symptom of this disorder. Because it can have a negative impact on people’s lives and in doubtful cases it is necessary to go to a specialist.

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