It sounds counterintuitive; after all, routine chores and never-ending housework can sometimes feel like just one more thing on an endless “to do” list. Yet it seems that for many people, housecleaning can actually provide a simple, easy way to help ease anxiety! In fact, cleaning offers a number of benefits when it comes to offering relief from worry and anxiety. In some cases, the act of itself cleaning may be the solution; cleaning requires a soothing, repetitive rhythm that can distract from and even calm a racing mind. For others, it’s the result that matters: studies show that a clean, well-organized living space can significantly reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
If you are lucky, you’ve already discovered the soothing effect of cleaning in your everyday life. However, for the doubters among us, it turns out that this phenomena is actually backed by a variety of scientific studies. One of the most recent and most often cited, for example, was published in Current Biology in 2015. In this study, one group of students was told they needed to make a speech answering several questions; the other group was told they simply needed to think about the questions but not make a speech. Both groups were given a metal statue and asked to wipe it until clean. The group facing the prospect of public speaking cleaned the object more repetitively and more thoroughly than the control group.
Here are the four main reasons why, if you are feeling stressed, worried, or anxious, taking the time to clean your house might actually make you feel better.
Cleaning as meditation
Cleaning involves smooth, repetitive, predictable movements such as pushing a mop back and forth across the floor, wiping a duster across the shelves, or circling a sponge across the countertop. As your mind focuses on these simple, task-driven movements, it can more easily block out the negative thoughts at the root of your anxiety. In other words, the repetitive act of cleaning can have a similar positive effect on the brain as more traditional types of meditation.
Cleaning provides a sense of control and order
Our living space is our sanctuary, and for many people, it can feel like the one place where we can control our environment. Cleaning up and organizing your living space puts you in control and empowers your choices. And of course, knowing where things are and being able to find the things you need exactly when you need them always reduces anxiety.
Cleaning offers tangible results
The tasks in our lives can seem endless and overwhelming with no end in sight. Cleaning can be easily broken down in a series of small steps with measurable, easily-visible results. In other words, when you are done cleaning the bathroom, you can see a clean, sparkling bathroom and “check it off the list”. That sense of satisfaction, of a job well done, provides a sense of accomplishment that counteracts anxiety and negative thinking.
A clean, well-organized home can reduce feelings of depression and stress
We’ve all experienced it: that sinking feeling when you walk in the door after a long busy day and see a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and heaps of clutter just lying around everywhere. Conversely, coming home to a clean, well-organized home can provide a sense of calm and orderliness. This is especially true for women: a 2010 study in Personality and Society Psychology Bulletin showed that women who described their homes as “cluttered” were more likely to be fatigued or depressed, and showed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Next time you feel worried, stressed, or anxious and just can’t seem to relax, see if a little cleaning might restore your calm and ease your anxiety. Experts note that it’s important to start small and manageable. Don’t try to clean the entire house at once, but set a small, achievable goal—mopping the kitchen floor, for instance, or organizing a bookshelf—and find out if this coping method works for you!
Contact Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles
If you or someone you love is seeking help for an anxiety disorder, we encourage you to contact Dr. Steven L. Mandel at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles immediately to find out if Ketamine Infusion Therapy may offer a solution.
For more information about Ketamine Infusion Therapy treatments for depression, bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and other conditions contact us at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles in Southern California (Orange County) by clicking here or calling 310-270-0625.