Cleaning is usually viewed as a chore—but can it instead be a way to make yourself feel better? There are a number of reasons that cleaning can boost your emotional health. Here are a few of the mental benefits of cleaning.
First of all, your emotional state is often closely connected to the environment around you. A study conducted at the University of California concluded that women who described their environment at home as messy, dirty, or chaotic had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can adversely impact your emotional state. It isn’t hard to see why this might be the case—coming home at the end of the day to a disorganized house isn’t likely to help you unwind.
Your home’s state can be directly affecting your physical health too. If you suffer from allergies, then irritants such as dust and mold might be sapping your energy without you even realizing it. Plus, having a cleaner home can help protect your immune system. Since your physical health is closely tied to your mental health, protecting your body can also help you feel better emotionally.
Next, the act of cleaning itself can be therapeutic. By sorting, scrubbing, or decluttering, you’re asserting control over your environment and organizing your life. Additionally, many people find that cleaning is a good way to relieve stress and work out your frustrations, providing you with an outlet that is both productive and calming.
Probably related to this phenomenon is the fact that cleaning can have moderate exercise benefits, and exercise is widely acknowledged to be a good stress reliever. Walking around as you declutter, vigorously scrubbing a counter, or pushing a large vacuum can help get you moving and raise your heart
rate a little. A study conducted in Scotland found that regular housework could cut feelings of stress by as much as one-fifth, if the participants had enough physical movement.
Cleaning can boost your physical health in more ways than one. Another study found that those who worked in a neat space instead of a cluttered one were more likely to eat an apple than a piece of chocolate, providing evidence that cleaner surroundings can improve your self-control. A study conducted at Indiana University found that people with cleaner homes tended to have higher levels of physical activity. If you can organize your home, you may be more likely to organize your diet or other aspects of your life.
Finally, cleaning can provide a sense of accomplishment, helping you feel productive and useful. Eliminating an entire sink full of dirty dishes, sorting through your whole garage, or making every window in the house shine feels great once you’ve finished the task. Plus, after checking these items off of your to-do list, it’s easier to sit back and relax without distractions. Ensuring that your home is neat and tidy is a great way to naturally boost your mood. .