Messy House & Depression

Written by kylie worthington
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Messy House & Depression
The correlation between depression and a messy home often manifests as a spiral effect. (left dishes image by kuhar from Fotolia.com)

The state of a person's home can often provide insight into the state of their overall well-being. Feng shui teaches that clutter in the home causes depression and fatigue. Whether or not you believe in the art of feng shui, there is absolutely a direct link between a messy home and depression.

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Depression's Role

One factor of the link between a messy home and depression is that fatigue is a common symptom of depression. Those who are depressed may simply feel too tired and unmotivated to do the household chores, resulting in a build-up of clutter. Another symptom of depression is hopelessness. This symptom adds to the problem, because the depressed person may think, "What's the point of cleaning, anyway?"

Spiral Effect

A spiral effect occurs when it comes to having a messy home and depression. Symptoms of depression such as fatigue, hopelessness and lack of motivation can cause a person to neglect the upkeep of their home. At the same time, the growing amount of clutter can cause the person to become more and more overwhelmed, thus worsening their depression.

Expert Insight

Christy Best, professional organiser and author of "Clutter's Last Stand," discusses the correlation between a messy home and depression. "Possessions, like fat, insulate us from the outside world, building a wall of junk which we can hide behind. Our clutter becomes an insular mechanism for shielding ourselves from pain. We all do this to some degree, but few ever make the correlation. The sheer act of acquiring stuff, too, can be a self-medication. How many of us shop in order to feel better? But it´s a temporary fix that, in the end, only adds to our depression."

A Minimalist Approach

A minimalist approach to clearing out junk can make cleaning the home much simpler. The "love it or need it" rule means just that--any item that you don't absolutely love or need either gets thrown away or given away. By reducing the overall amount of things in the home, you'll be able to keep it clean. Those who are depressed will benefit from this practice as there will be less clutter building up, making the home's upkeep much less overwhelming.

A Routine Can Help

Depression is a serious mental illness and finding healthy ways to deal with emotions and anxiety is crucial. Having a routine in place can benefit those battling depression immensely. According to Ian Cook, MD, "Having a routine gives you a sense of control over the day. We know that helps, and we know that not having a sense of control makes people feel worse." Schedule some time each day for housekeeping so that the mess doesn't pile up and become out of control.

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