Knowing how your environment affects your mental health is paramount if you want to try to improve your wellbeing. It's rather unfortunate that our locality can heighten our feelings of stress and anxiety, but it is a fact we must learn to live with.
How Your Environment Affects Your Mental Health
As we have established, your environment can affect your mental state in varying ways, such as:
Change in Mood
You will notice when you move between different spaces that your mood may change as soon as you enter the door. For example, you may have a brighter outlook when you're in a room filled with joyful decorations. On the other hand, if you are in a dark, dingy room, you may find that your depression and anxiety levels increase.
Change in Behaviour and Motivation
The tidiness of the space may affect your behavioural decisions and actions. Think of it this way: if your bedroom has clothes all over the floor, you will be more inclined to just drop new ones there and forget about them than if your garments were stored away neatly.
Affects Interactions with Family
If your home doesn't have a comfortable area for people to sit and chat, then chances are you won't do that at all.
Don't make the mistake of thinking this won't impact your mental health — it really will! Having discussions with those closest to you is a sure-fire way to improve your wellbeing and truly know the people you love. Ultimately, this will improve the mental state of everyone in the household, not just yourself!
External Factors That Impact Stress
Now that we know some of how our environment can impact our state of mind and stress levels, it's important to know exactly what these factors are so we can work towards managing stress and anxiety.
Countless studies have been conducted on how the lighting of a room affects our mental state. This research has proven that regardless of whether it's natural or artificial light, bright areas can reduce the feelings of depression and anxiety.
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamps have also been created to give you a shot of vitamin D and lift your spirits — particularly useful in wintertime when, in most places, the days are darker.
Usually, if we are in an untidy space, we can feel quite stressed, tense and overwhelmed — not ideal, especially if you are trying to relax at home.
The noises in your environment can have a huge impact on our stress levels. Loud noises, while sometimes fun, can quicken the heart rate and produce more stress-inducing hormones in our brain.
Life has a lovely way of throwing unpredicted curve balls our way, doesn't it? These could be anything from visitors you weren't expecting, car payments going up or work decreasing your wage. All of these are bound to have an impact on your health.
There are a lot of common workplace aspects that can stress us out but it is dependent on the type of job you do too, of course.
Usually, stressors within the workplace can include tight deadlines, unforgiving bosses, millions of phone calls and too much of a workload.
Ways to Manage External Stressors
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage stress! Different strategies work best at home rather than work and vice versa.
However, in a more generic, lifestyle sense, there are things you can do to improve your average stress level.
Eating healthily, regularly exercising and consistently sleeping enough are the three main stress reduction techniques. Once you've implemented these, then you are guaranteed to feel better able to cope with external stressors and stay on top of your mental wellbeing.
Managing Stress at Work
More specifically, how to manage stress at work might be what's on your mind. If so, you should try:
This a well-known stress reduction technique and great for the workplace.
How do you do it? Well, one effective method is to acknowledge 5 things you can see, 4 you can hear, 3 you can touch, 2 you can smell and 1 you can taste — don't rush this, take time to notice the really small things. Once you get down to the objects you can touch, you will already feel in a calmer state.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to breathe!
There are many breathing techniques for stress reduction that you can try. However, a popular (especially useful for calming anxiety and falling asleep) is the "478" method.
Simply breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. Keep doing this for a few rounds and you'll be able to notice the effects.
Once you finish a particularly gruelling task, try to reward yourself. Not only will this help your overall wellbeing, but it will also give you a true sense of achievement.
Asking for Help
If you are stressed at work throughout long, damaging periods, please ask for help. Remember, people aren't mindreaders — they can't help you if they don't know you're struggling!
Developing Good Relationships
You're at work for a high percentage of your time so developing good relationships with your colleagues is vital to living a low-stress life — this way, you won't feel awkward about asking for help when you need it.
Handling Stress in The Home
Alternatively, it could be that your stresses lie more within the home. If this is the case for you, try:
Much like asking for help at work, the people you live with aren't mindreaders so you will have to communicate your stresses to them so they can begin to help you.
Making sure your life is organised, including your storage solutions throughout the home and events that you have to attend will give you a sense of control. In turn, this will reduce your stress level.
Making Time For Fun
Ensure you and your family make time to have fun together! Whether that's a bowling trip, cooking, watching a film or playing with your pets. Doing this will guarantee you'll evaporate the homelife stress and flood it with happiness.
Using these simple yet effective tips will aid you in reducing your life's stresses and allow you to live in a state of lightness.