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Declutter your life

There is a science to clutter and chaos, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers have suggested that clutter, as well as a lack of organisation does more to our psyche and general wellbeing than initially thought. The team at Princeton University used functional MRI and other techniques to track how the brain responded to clutter or overstimulation – caused by chaos and unorganised mess.

Dr Sarah McKay, an Australian neuroscientist stated that the reason for this, came down to the way our brain processes information. When there are multiple channels of information all competing for the same amount of recognition, our brain can become overwhelmed and overstimulated.

“When objects were grouped rather than scattered, there was less competition between brain areas,” McKay explained.

“Or in other words, visual chaos makes it harder to focus because the brain is trying to process too many information streams.”

In 2013, a study was conducted by researches at the University of Minnesota, where participants were asked to enter either a tidy room or a cluttered room. The researches then tracked the behaviours of the participants and found that the effects transcended purely physical reactions.

Those who spent time in the tidy room were more likely to pick the healthier option when asked to choose between an apple or a piece of chocolate for a snack. Their surroundings were also found to have affected their benevolence, with those surrounded by tidiness donating twice as much money to charity, when given the option.

Even some of the simplest acts, like keeping your bedroom tidy, can have the greatest effects on our wellbeing. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, those who routinely existed in a peaceful, clean and decluttered bedroom recorded higher levels of sleep, compared to those who slept in a messy room.

“Quite simply, being organised gives you more time for the things you want to do – cooking, exercising, family time, taking a bath – you time. That’s very important to mental health,” says personal organiser Kerri Rodley.

“To put it another way, decluttering is the number one step in the feng shui process because, if energy can’t flow freely, nothing else can begin to improve,”

Interested in decluttering your own life? Check out our tips from top decluttering expert – Marie Kondo – here.

 

 

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6 ways to feel better

 

LAUGH – call your funniest friend and meet up for lunch. It’s a sure-fire way to reduce stress and boost your feel-good hormones, while also injecting some pep into your immune system. Allen Klein, aka the Jollyologist has written at length about the benefits of humour and believes it’s the key to healing. Here are some of his tips: introduce some light-heartedness into your everyday life; Read a happy quote or giggle at a meme every morning; Clown around like a big kid and learn to laugh rather than get sad or angry at non-dire disasters.

 

DONATE – Feeling good by doing something kind for others is a surefire way to happiness. If you can, donate to a charity. If you have more time than money, donate your services to a shelter or hospital. A simple way to donate is to clean out your wardrobe and take the clothes to a charity. You’ll feel fab about your organized wardrobe too. Win-win!

 

EXERCISE – Don’t groan. A daily spot of exercise can keep anxiety in check, and increase dopamine which boosts feelings of wellbeing. Find a way to incorporate exercise into your life that doesn’t feel like a chore. Make it social by having walking dates with friends. Turn your work commute into a chance to get moving. If you can’t walk to work, catch the bus or train from the next stop. Stuck at the office? Try our office desk exercises.

 

GET A PET – If you don’t have a furry or scaly friend, get one – or ask to walk or housesit for someone who does. Countless studies have documented the incredibly positive side-effects of including pets in your family. Watching swimming fish lowers blood pressure, your immune system can get a boost from stroking a dog and cat owners have 30 per cent less chance of having a heart attack.

 

SOAK IN A TUB – Take time out for an indulgent bath, soaking in some relaxing bubbles or bath salts. It could be when everyone else is asleep, if your time is limited during the day. Neil Morris, a psychologist from the University of Wolverhampton, conducted a study that found people who indulge in baths experience a significant fall in pessimistic feelings about the future, and an increase in hedonistic and pleasurable sensations.

 

KEEP GOING – The best advice is often the simplest. This one resonates with me as my wise dad has been repeating this little gem to me ever since I can remember. Life may be full of challenges, but don’t let them throw you off track. Keep in mind that you’ll get through what feels so cumbersome today.

 

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