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Physical & Mental Clutter Oh My!
by Angelie Kapoor
Old bookshelf

I’m not sure if people realize it, but one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives is actually clutter. Seeing piles of clothes, unopened junk mail, loads of laundry, a messy desk, and other disarray actually causes most people to feel anxious and overwhelmed, sometimes even depressed. It's hard to achieve a sense of calm when there's chaos all around, in the form of physical disorganization or the kind that attacks your mind. That's why it's important to control the clutter in your life. Taking steps to get control of the disorder is the start of creating calm.

Clutter can come in many forms. For simplicity's sake, I'd like to break it down into two main types. These are physical and mental. Each has a heavy impact on your stress levels. They both are likely to play a role in keeping you from creating calm in your life. Therefore, it's important to take a look at each type, define it, and examine ways both can negatively affect you. There’s Physical Clutter and Mental Clutter. Physical clutter is as you may have guessed, things you can see. Mental clutter is a bit more complicated - information, emotional, things that overwhelm you. Ridding yourself of clutter leads to less stress and overall improved well-being, calm and happiness. There are many, many negative effects and ramifications of clutter.

Physical Clutter

Physical clutter is easy to understand. This is the kind of mess you can see. It's the piles of clothing, papers, dishes, and more that are strewn around your home or office. It's the overabundance of things you've been holding onto for years because they're sentimental or you might use them one day. Physical clutter can even be the many tabs you keep open on your computer browser or the tons of media you consume each day. These things can be seen. They consume large amounts of your resources such as time, space, and money.

Mental Clutter

Mental clutter isn't as simple to define. It involves the overload of information, along with nagging emotional issues, that overwhelm your mind. This type of internal congestion can consist of things such as your never-ending to-do list, negative internal dialogue, relationship demands, old grudges, or habits that don't serve you. The source of such mess usually lies in emotions like fear, regret, worry, guilt, or shame. Identifying the types of mental issues that are cluttering your brain can lead to purging yourself of them.

Effects of Clutter

Ridding yourself of clutter, both physical and mental, can truly increase your feelings of happiness and calm. It can lead to less stress and overall greater well-being. The negative effects of too much clutter are astounding. Decreased mental health is one of the biggest issues of surrounding yourself with all sorts of clutter. Studies show that mental health and overall well-being is improved when clutter is kept under control, both in the home and in the workplace. Too much physical clutter impairs visual processing. It can be incredibly distracting to see lots of piles and disorganization in your surroundings, leading you to miss cues regarding people's emotions and other important information. Your cognition and clarity of mind are adversely affected by excess mental clutter. You simply can't think straight when you've got a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head.

This is merely an overview of the ramifications that come from physical and mental clutter. However, the information above should give you some insight into how important it can be to clean things up or get things organized in both your physical world and within your mind. Doing so can lead to tremendous benefits within your world.

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