How Does Your Physical Environment Affect Your Mental Health?

There are so many things that can affect your mental health, and most of them you’re not even noticing. Your physical environment is one of them.

How many times have you caught yourself thinking about that clutter in your spare room or scattered papers all over your desk? Without even noticing, it affects your mental health in ways that can cause anxiety, procrastination, and depression.

7 Tips to Create a More Peaceful Home – Jules Acree

Your home is the place where you spend most of your time, and it can have a massive impact on how you’re feeling.

How Physical Environments Affect Your Mental Health

Some say that our environment is composed of different factors such as physical factors and people around you, including those who live with you, work with you, or people you meet. Even racism, crime, poverty, and the pandemic lockdown are environmental factors that can affect your feelings. There are plenty of other examples, too. The smell of the room you’re in, the noises you hear, and the things you see can all affect your mental health.

Even a lack of sunshine can make you feel sad. Thus, this disorder is called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, where people feel depressed and anxious during the colder months.

Desperate helpless woman sitting on sofa in messy living room. Young girl surrounded by many stack of clothes.  Her physical environment is messy.
Clutter Can Make You Feel Overwhelmed And Anxious, While The Opposite Can Make You Calm (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Anything in your environment can affect your mental health, but here are some most common things:

  • Clutter—clutter can make you feel overwhelmed and anxious, while the opposite can make you calm.
  • Sensory—sounds, smell, temperature, or even colors you see in the room can make you feel comfortable and relaxed or agitated and anxious.
  • People—if you’re sharing your space with someone you trust, like your partner or your friend, you’ll feel calm and relaxed, knowing that everything is okay, while someone who is nervose, constantly complaining or picking a fight, might not get that feeling out of you.

What Impact Does Our Environment Have on Us?

Here are some of the ways the environment can affect us:

  1. The environment can be the reason why someone will decide to interact with other people or not. For example, if you want to visit someone at the hospital, a warm atmosphere, polite people, nice color palette, and quietness and calmness will make you want to stay longer.
  2. Sometimes, we are triggered to act by the environment. For example, if there is clutter and things are just thrown around, people will be encouraged to continue adding to the mess. Simultaneously, if the boxes are all stacked up, and everything is at its place, people will want to follow those guidelines and put things back where they belong.
  3. Lack of sunshine can make us feel sad, anxious, and depressed. Some studies show that brighter rooms can act as a therapy for people with depression and anxiety—this is why it’s important to be proactive when it comes to environmental health.

What is a Healing Environment?

A healing environment does just that—it helps heal us. When we’re feeling low, anxious, or depressed, some things are right in front of us that can make us feel better. For some people, the smell of freshly brewed coffee can trigger feelings of gratitude and satisfaction. For others, turning the music up and moving the energy by dancing is the way to go.

Whatever the case, a healing environment can help us deal with emotions.

Rear view portrait of young african man sitting relaxed on a bench with his hands behind head, young guy on vacation.
A Healing Environment Can Help Us Deal With Emotions (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Healing is about making yourself whole, by finding harmony between your body, mind, and spirit.

It is important to note that healing is not the same as curing, because a person can be cured and not healed and vice versa. When we’re focusing on healing, we’re doing the inner work. We’re tending to our soul’s calling and the stuck energy. Healing is all about the spirit, while curing is the outer work, focusing on our body and how to cure it.

But there are benefits for our bodies when we heal, as well. When we’re trying to heal, we’re ultimately reducing stress and anxiety, which can affect our bodies positively as well.

Spending time in an intentionally healing setting can help you feel better overall.

What Can I Do to Create a Healing Environment?

There’s only one principle to follow when you’re creating a healing environment, and that’s the reduction of stress! By reducing stress, you’re increasing the production of happiness hormones that ultimately make you feel good.

Let the light into the room and surround yourself with the things you love, photos of people that make you laugh, places you want to go, or those you gladly remember. Light a candle that will produce the aroma that you like. 

Man Standing At Window And Looking outside.
Let The Light Into The Room And Surround Yourself With The Things You Love (Image Source: Shutterstock)

At home, you can try putting up white curtains and buying some flowers that will cheer up the room. Put the music on—there are great affordable options for a Bluetooth speaker on Amazon. Put a high vibe playlist on and dance on your way to the bathroom or your home office. If you’re finding the resistance of the people you’re living with or encountering other limitations, you can start by finding a small spot or a corner in your home that you’ll call your healing space.

You can do the same with your office. Place a couple of plants around the office (you might bring ecotherapy into your space), enjoy a relaxed conversation with your co-worker, and add some lamps. This will brighten the room even on a cloudy day.

We can’t always make our environment healing, so there are other things you should consider, like your inner perspective on things. Try looking at things with positivity and from an optimistic perspective. If you believe in the law of attraction, this will make a lot more sense, but even if you don’t, setting an intention to feel good every day is vital. Remember, you are in control of your feelings.

Struggling to feel good? Your environment might be the key to feeling better. Try out some of the advice listed above, and watch your mood change for the better!