The average person spends a lot of time thinking about their house. From maintenance and repairs to design and décor, it commands a lot of attention. But did you know that all of the different elements of your house are actually impacting your mental health and emotional well-being?
Exploring the Relationship Between Your House and Mental Health
Houses provide more than shelter from the elements and protection from outside threats. They’re extensions of our identities, personalities, and families. And whether we realize it or not, they impact how we think and feel on a daily basis.
Let’s explore some of these relationships in greater detail.
1. Housing Situation
First – and perhaps most importantly – your housing situation has a significant impact on your overall emotional well-being.
According to a 2015 policy brief published in How Housing Matters, there’s a strong correlation between poor rental housing and adverse mental health conditions like depression. Specifically, the research suggests that poor housing conditions can lead to depression and hostility among residents, while perceived overcrowding has similar effects.
Additionally, the research shows neighborhood disarray – which includes vacant lots, dilapidated housing, vandalism, trash, etc. – contributes to feelings of hostility. On the other hand, those in “great neighborhoods” feel more cohesion, satisfaction, stability, and a willingness to help others.
2. Clutter and Organization
Inside the home, clutter and disorganization (or the lack thereof) can have a significant impact on how you feel.
Research reveals that the average American home has roughly 300,000 items inside. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans have to rent offsite storage to store items they can’t fit in their homes. In other words, clutter is a huge issue – and it’s not good for mental health.
As Green Residential points out, “Clutter is often a key source of stress. Whether you realize it or not, it’s mentally exhausting to account for all of these items and deal with the baggage they bring to the table.”
By reducing the amount of clutter that’s present – and developing a system for organizing the items that you do have – you can gain the upper hand and enjoy a greater sense of peace and stability.
3. Paint Colors
There’s ample evidence to suggest that the colors we’re exposed to on a daily basis affect our mood, behavior, and stress levels. This is true regardless of the setting, but the relationship between color and emotional well-being is magnified in the home.
By choosing paint colors strategically – particularly in key rooms like the bedroom and kitchen – you can enjoy greater happiness, satisfaction, and productivity. This helpful guide takes a deeper dive into which colors produce which emotions.
4. Layout and Architecture
Over time, architecture, floor plans, and home layouts have evolved. Homes used to be very rigid and segmented. Walls and doors set each room apart from the rest of the home. In today’s world of architecture and design, this is no longer the case.
Research has discovered that unrestricted spaces and open concepts are beneficial to mental health and allow the mind to create multiple perspectives about the surrounding environment. It may even strengthen cognitive abilities.
5. Natural Environment
“Wherever it’s located, substandard and deteriorating housing can contribute to a variety of serious ailments,” Habitat.org notes. “Respiratory diseases, lead poisoning, cancers from toxic materials, neurological disorders, stress, psychological and behavioral dysfunction.”
According to Habitat, as much as 40 percent of asthma cases can be attributed to factors within the home – such as the presence of mold, pests, or certain chemicals. These physical symptoms also impact emotional well-being – often leading to stress, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness.
There’s also something to be said for having a view. There’s a strong connection between green spaces, blue spaces (water), and lower psychological distress. Having access to these views provides a sense of calmness and has a way of centering the soul.
Putting it All Together
Most people know that their homes have an impact on their physical health, but the connection with emotional well-being is often unknown or ignored. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some insights into just how important this relationship is. As a result, you can invest the necessary resources into improving your home and making it more conducive to positive mental health.