Vital Signs: Clean your room to clean your mind

By Anna Kellaher
Columnist

Kondo helps people organize their homes (Flickr).

If you had some free time over break, you may have used it to binge-watch “Tidying Up,” a new series in which Marie Kondo, an organizing consultant and author, helps people declutter and organize their homes. The changes are aesthetically pleasing, and mental health experts say that the newly organized homes can also have psychological benefits.

According to WSLS.com, Psychologist Michael Tompkins said that our moods can be improved by “both pleasant activities and mastery activities.” Pleasant activities are things that are inherently enjoyable, such as spending time with friends or watching a favorite TV show. Mastery activities are tasks that require the development of skills. These activities may not be enjoyable at first, but they provide a sense of accomplishment when completed. Tasks like organizing and decluttering provide experience in these types of activities.

While the initial stages of decluttering and organizing may feel tedious, you may experience an unexpected mood boost once you’ve completed a goal.

Another benefit of tidying up is the  added potential to help others by donating some of your clutter, such as clothes you no longer wear. According to the Mental Health Foundation, helping others benefits your own mental health in return. It releases endorphins, which activate the pleasure and social connection centers in our brains.

The next time you’re stressed or unhappy, try cleaning up your living spaces, organizing your things and donating items you no longer use to get an extra mood boost.

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