Many of us have started the year with the endeavor to be better organized: no more drawers with plastic containers with missing lids or lonely socks. The stirring excitement is led by Japanese clean-up lover Marie Kondo, author of a New York Times bestseller and host of the Netflix show Tidying Up. Charities like St. Vincent de Paul report a 38 percent increase in donations year-on-year as we get rid of clothing, books, and household items that are not fun or have a place in our future.
And there are good reasons to come aboard, be it through the KonMari method or just a good cleaning. Disorder can affect our anxiety, sleep and ability to concentrate. This may also result in our being less productive and triggering policies that will make us more likely to sit on junk snacks and watch television (including those in which other people lay down their lives). My own research shows that our physical environments have a significant impact on our perceptions, emotions, and subsequent behaviors, including our relationships with others.
The bursting of cabinets and stacks of paper stacked around the house seems harmless enough. However, research shows that disorganization and disorder have a cumulative effect on our brain. Our brain's order and constant visual memories of disorganization are consuming our cognitive resources and reducing our ability to concentrate. The visual distraction of the disturbances increases the cognitive overload and reduces our working memory.
A chronically overcrowded home environment can lead to a constant struggle or an escape response, thereby destroying our resources for survival. This reaction can trigger physical and psychological changes that affect the control of errors and digestion of food and increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Clutter can also affect our relationships with our fellow human beings. For example, a 2016 US study found that background noise made attendees less able to interpret the emotional expressions on the faces of characters in a movie.
And surprisingly, it will not go away when we finally go to bed. People sleeping in crowded rooms are more likely to have difficulty sleeping, including difficulties falling asleep and being disturbed during the night. Several studies have found a connection between disorder and bad eating habits. Unorganized and messy environments resulted in participants eating more snacks and twice as many cookies in one study as in an organized kitchen environment.
Other research has shown that in a chaotic room you eat twice as often a chocolate bar as an apple. Finally, the odds are that people with extremely overcrowded homes are 77 percent overweight. Tidy houses have turned out to be an indicator of physical health. Participants whose homes were cleaner were more active and had better physical health, according to another study.
Buying more and more things that we believe we need and not getting rid of them is a real Disruption in the Diagnostic of the American Psychiatric Association and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-V). According to the DSM-V, people with a hoarding disorder will forcibly acquire possessions and experience anxiety and mental anxiety when thrown away.
A Yale study with fMRI showed that in people who have tendencies to hoard, discarding objects can cause actual pain in regions of the brain that are associated with bodily pain. It activates areas of the brain that are also responsible for the pain you feel when you hit a finger in a door or burn your hand on the stove.
People who are suspected of having a hoot disorder can take heart: cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be an effective treatment. The participants of Marie Kondo's Netflix show Tidying Up that her method of riddling changes her life for the better. In fact, her first book was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Research actually shows that confusing living environments negatively affect the perception of our homes and ultimately our life satisfaction. The authors of the study note that the strong effect is that we define "home" not just as a place of residence, but as:
the broader constellation of experiences, meanings, and situations shaped by a person in creation be actively shaped his or her life.
But it seems that the mess is not always bad. A study showed that messy desks can make us more creative. The results suggest that orderly, orderly environments are more likely to meet expectations and play it safe, while chaotic environments make us break the norm and look at things in a new way.
Libby Sander teaches organizational behavior at Bond Business School, Bond University.
This article has been re-published under the Creative Commons license of The Conversation. Read the original article.