How Our Spaces Affect Mental Health

Have you ever walked into a room + instantly felt more at peace? Or maybe the opposite happened + your mind instantly felt a lot more cluttered? When it comes to mental health, we often think about how we manage our time or what practices we can build into our schedules, but how we manage the spaces around us might be just as important. Research shows that our spaces//environments impact our mental health more than you may think — anything from lighting to color to layout can shape our moods. Here are some things to consider when setting up your space —

COLOR

Color psychology is based on the idea that different colors can bring out different emotions//moods when exposed to them. This is why when you think of the color purple you may think of royalty or when you see the color blue you instantly think of a calming ocean. Did you know that the idea of color theory + how colors affect our moods dates all the way back to the ancient Greeks? We’re still using those ideas today through color therapy — a new + alternative method to easing symptoms of mental health problems associated with depression, anxiety, + addiction. If you find that you’re connected to colors, try bathing your space in blues, greens, + an assortment of pastels or natural colors. These colors are linked to calmness, rest, + healing.

LET IN THE LIGHT

It’s no secret that the sun + natural light can instantly uplift a mood — it triggers an increase in B + D vitamins in the body, as well as triggering a sense of optimism! Studies have shown that those who work in the sunlight are more productive + have greater cognitive abilities than those who work in areas without natural light. If you don’t have access to a ton of natural light in your home//workspace, light therapy is another beneficial option for treating depression + seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — we love the HappyLight!

OPEN UP THE LAYOUT

We all poke fun at the couples on House Hunters who are set on having an *open concept* home, but studies show that more open spaces allow our brains to create multiple pathways at once, which increases cognitive ability + creativity. The overall structure of our spaces is so important, impacting everything from our decision-making + spatial processes to how we think about ourselves. While open spaces are ideal, if you’re living in a cramped space, do your best to embrace it! Smaller spaces are linked to a higher sense of community + other benefits. Having trouble embracing your tiny apartment//dorm room? Find a local coffee shop or co-working space that provides an open layout!

DECLUTTER

An uncluttered space leads to an uncluttered mind! Now might be the perfect time for you to Marie Kondo your life — studies have shown that cluttered spaces can be a huge contributor to poor mental health. Clutter has been linked to lower productivity + creativity, poor sleep, unhealthy eating, less efficient visual processing, + of course, poorer mental health. Clearing the clutter in your space may not automatically clear the clutter in your mind, but it can help — we also recommend journaling, meditating, or talking to a licensed professional if you’re struggling with a cluttered mind!

Here’s to finding more peace + productivity in the spaces around us. <3 Have any other ideas about how our spaces affect our mental health? Share them with us in the comments below or on Instagram using #inCHAARG!

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