Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Is your home getting you down?


From time to time, we might feel under the weather, but have you ever considered it could be your home that is getting you down?

There are several reasons why your home might be affecting your wellbeing – is there too much clutter? Is it in need of a serious spring clean? Does it lack organisation? Whatever it is that’s making you feel out of sorts and a little uneasy, we have some top tips for organising your home and how it can benefit your wellbeing.

Stop daydreaming, start decluttering!

Before you can even think about sprucing up your home and achieving some kind of organisation, first you’ll need to take the plunge and declutter. You might be surprised to learn that studies undertaken by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families(CELF) showed that a cluttered home can, in fact, cause stress. Sometimes, without us even noticing until it’s too late, we accumulate a wealth of ‘things’ that we don’t ever actually use or need. Before we know it, our homes are jam packed to the rafters and there is barely any space left for us to relax.

The amount of clutter that we amass can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety, stress and depression. So, it makes sense that if we create a home where there is less clutter and more organisation, we are likely to feel more content, relaxed and happier.

  • Before you start, create a list of categories that any clutter might fall under, such as keep, throw away, recycle or sell. 
  • Start with the room that has the least clutter first as you are less likely to feel overwhelmed by the task at hand and you can make space for any items that you might want to keep. 
  • Try not to spend too much time reminiscing about anything that you come across or reading through old diaries as this will only make the task take longer, and you might also talk yourself out of decluttering at all!

As you start to make progress, you will begin to feel a weight lifted and you might even start to enjoy the process, which can be extremely therapeutic.

Declutter your home, declutter your mind

If you wake up surrounded by an unclean house, it can really play havoc with your mindset. Although you might not realise it, the state of your home can cause anxiety and stress, which can affect our levels of cortisol in the body. This can lead to lethargy, high blood pressure and disturbed sleep. By decluttering, we can help create a more relaxed environment which will reduce stress and regulate our cortisol levels, meaning we will feel uplifted and energised.

Once you have completed decluttering, pull out the sofa, empty the cupboards and have a good spring clean. It’s quite surprising how much dust and dirt can build up when we neglect to clean behind and under things. If left for too long, this can cause respiratory problems and have a harmful effect on our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing.

Initially, it might seem like an uphill struggle to organise your home but once you make a start, you’ll begin to see the benefits that it has on your wellbeing. As well as the immense satisfaction that it brings, you will feel less stressed and more motivated.

Hoarding

Of course, we're referring to general accumulation of 'things' in this article. If you or someone you know have hoarding issues and the clutter is getting out of control or dangerous, you would be advised to seek the help of a professional as there is usually a deeper cause to hoarding, which you may need to explore. 
















Friday, 4 October 2019

Mastering the art of positivity

Did you know that too much negative thinking can cause actual physical pain as well as affecting our mental wellbeing?

When we spend too much time focusing on the negative, as well as complaining, our brain and thought processes are telling our bodies to act accordingly. Worry is a huge cause of stress and anxiety and unless it is dealt with or we make changes to our thought patterns, it can ultimately create negative feelings such as fear and anger. In turn, these feelings can trigger various reactions in our body which can cause us to feel tired and withdrawn.

But we can do something about our thoughts, and by mastering the art of positivity, we can rewire our brain and change our body’s reactions. OK, so when you are in a constant mindset of negativity, it may seem much more difficult to just switch off your thoughts, but by practising these simple techniques, you will start to see a difference in your thought process and overall sense of positivity.

Although it won’t happen overnight, positive thinking can help you cope with stressful situations better, thus reducing the damaging effects that stress and anxiety can have on your physical wellbeing.

Meditation and mindfulness

As you begin to become aware of your thoughts, meditation and mindfulness can help you reconnect with yourself on a deeper level. With so many external pressures impacting on our thought processes, these techniques help us recognise any negative thoughts - accept them and let them go. You only need to set aside 15 minutes each day to relax and empty your mind.

Be your own best friend

Many of us are fearful of rejection and failure so it’s understandable that we often expect the worst or feel the need to protect ourselves from the worst possible outcome.

“I’ll never be good enough”

“I don’t have the skills”

“Nobody likes me”

These might be some of the phrases you’re familiar with and tell yourself on a regular basis. But, guess what? The more you say these kinds of things to yourself, the more you will believe them, and this is also conveyed to the people around you.

Each day, when you wake up, try replacing this negative self-doubt with positive affirmations such as:

“I am a good and likeable person”

“I can achieve anything I put my mind to”

“I am good at my job”

After practising these affirmations on a daily basis, you will start to notice a shift in your confidence and self-respect, and you will actually start to believe that you are good enough.

Once you have mastered the art of positive self-talk, your mood will improve, and you’ll feel happier.

Stop complaining and be grateful

While many of us are guilty of complaining about trivial things from time to time, studies have shown that constant complaining can talk your brain into feeling anxious, which can then trigger negative emotions. But the good news is, these patterns can be reversed.

Try to pay attention to those moments when you find yourself complaining and instead, think of something that you are grateful for. When you start to change your thought patterns, you’ll begin to see a change in your mood and overall wellbeing.

Curious Mind Magazine looks more closely at how complaining rewires your brain.

Find out more about happiness

If you're interested in the topic of happiness, First Psychology is running workshops in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, where you will learn about happiness and what really makes us happy. For more information and to book your FREE place, click here >