• Annette Hurn


Having been a little quiet with my blogging lately, I decided it's time to put pen to paper again (or actually start tapping on the keys again!)

Something that I've been dwelling on for the past few weeks is clutter. So, why would a natural health practitioner be writing about clutter? Let me delve into that!

When I look around at certain rooms in my house, there is a sense of calm and I feel good when I'm in those rooms. When I look around others, that feeling of calm seems to magically disappear into thin air. What's the difference? Well, the difference is what my eyes can see around the room, and in the rooms that I feel a sense of calm, there is very little sitting on the horizontal surfaces and the room lacks clutter. My 'cluttered' rooms are the ones that cause that feeling of calm to vanish. Why is this, and what does it have to do with health?

Glad you asked!

When you live in an environment that has a lot of things that take up space and bring a sense of disorganisation and clutter, this feeling is transferred to your brain. The constant visual reminders of a cluttered environment reinforce to your brain that your life is cluttered and disorganised, and this creates a state of almost imperceptible stress and anxiety. The response by your body to this stress is the activation of your adrenal glands, and the release of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.

Have you ever had the situation where you've had something that you had to do and you put it off for ages for whatever reason? Then, one day you find yourself with some time on your hands and you make the decision to get it done, and when you've finished, you feel somehow lighter, like an elephant jumped off your chest? Your brain has just been released from the burden of thinking about this thing that you have been putting off and it's now able to process the fact that it doesn't have to think about it anymore. You have in a sense, helped to de-clutter your mind. Your brain can relax a little.

Clutter comes in all shapes and forms. It could be all the stuff that sits on the end of the kitchen bench like the junk mail, the unopened letters and bills, the newsletter that came home from school 3 months ago etc etc. It could be the pile of washing that needs to be folded and ironed that seems to get bigger and bigger, it could be the expanding wardrobe full of clothes, or it could be the accumulation of emails in your inbox that you just don't know what to do with.

The one thing that all forms of clutter have in common is, that it not only takes up space in your environment or email inbox, but it takes up space in your mind. The real estate of your mind is a precious and valuable place and needs to be reserved for the things that really matter in your life. When it becomes cluttered with unimportant and worthless information (clutter), it starts to drain your energy, firstly mental energy, then physical. It can be likened to picking up a weight, even a light one, and then picking up another one, and another one, and on and on it goes until eventually the weights become too much to bear and 'something' gives. That 'something' is your health....you might start to 'catch' more colds or flu, or you may start to have headaches or other aches and pains, or you may find yourself not sleeping properly. The list could go on but I think you get my drift!

My point is this...clutter, whether it's environmental or mental is a stress to your mind and body, and when you add another avenue of stress to your already busy life, you are adding another 'straw onto the camel's back', so to speak. Eventually, there will be a consequence.

I would like to finish this off by encouraging you to take stock of your living environment and see if you feel a sense of calm when you look around each room of your house. If there are areas that you know contain lots of things that you no longer need or use, I encourage you to give them to charity. You will feel good for providing things to those less fortunate, while giving yourself the benefit of freeing up your mind and living space of unnecessary clutter. If there are things that you only use occasionally, put them away in a cupboard to reduce the visual clutter. Eventually, you may even want to start going through drawers and cupboards and remove the hidden clutter. The result is a less cluttered and stressful environment and a mind that is able to focus on the more important aspects of life.

Until next time, happy decluttering! :)

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