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Stress Management Tip #5 – Stay away from clutter

Clutter can raise your stress levels to a great extent.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : October 28, 2014 3:04 PM IST

At the onset, this tip might sound unwise. But if you want a more rational explanation, know that nothing can beat stress the way rearranging and reorganizing things around you can do. This is because clutter has an overwhelming power to escalate your stress levels, be it at home, workplace or anywhere else. Here is how clutter raises your stress levels:

It diverts attention: Too much mess around can make it difficult for you to focus. The reason being, when you are stressed the mind receives a lot of external stimuli through all your five senses. Clutter around increases the visual, olfactory and tactile stimuli. This makes our senses go on an overdrive, and the brain works overtime on stimuli that aren't important thus diverting our attention from the task at hand. This could make you less productive or worse raise your stress levels even amidst manageable situations.

It clouds the thought process: A messy surrounding signals the brain that work is never complete, and there are more tasks at hand that need attention. This in a subtle way gives you more stress than needed. Apart from this, it also slows productivity and creativity by retarding effective brainstorming, thinking capacity and problem-solving ability.

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It makes one anxious: Clutter has a negative impact on a person's ability to relax, both physically and mentally. It also increases one's guilt by making you feel that you need to give more attention to your space (and life) around. A messy desk, wardrobe or home makes one anxious as you never know what it will take to clear the entire mess.

This is how your environment and surrounding influences your stress and life in general. However, as compared to the other factors that induce stress in your life, managing clutter is much easier. Here are a few ways in which you can do so:

Make decluttering your mission: It is difficult to keep your home; desk and your lawn spotlessly clean at every point of time. So assign yourself a specific time to do so. Say, the second weekend of the month goes in cleaning your home, every fourth Saturday is for the lawn and assign fifteen minutes after the lunch break for your desk. This will help you be more organised and free of clutter with minimal effort.

Declutter your home: Mess all around the house is not very appealing for anyone, nor you or your guests. But if there is too much to do, assign some tasks to the entire family and don't take the onus on yourself. Else it will only make you more stressful. However, if you have to clean your home all alone target one room at a time. This will give you more sense of accomplishment and help you feel more organised and energised.

Clean your desk: Too much mess at your workstation makes it difficult for you to concentrate on work. To manage clutter lay down few rules. Spend ten minutes at your desk daily cleaning the clutter which might include unused files, pile of papers, menus, newspapers and a lot more. Keep a folder for pending work papers and another for the accomplished one. This way you can organize your papers well. Trash unwanted items regularly. Always declutter your primary work space before you leave.

Try being more organized: Whether at work or home, make it a habit to be more organized. Always store things at their designated space after use and do it deliberately. This will help you create less clutter and mess that would need clearance later.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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