Roommates can often be a conflict in college. My roommate certainly is. He is one the messiest humans alive and just has no regard for personal hygiene. I would not describe myself at the most organized person but I have SOME sense of organization. While I could go on about how disgusting I find him, that is besides the point. After witnessing the filth that my roommate has had to live in, I wondered whether or not a person’s health could be affected simply by whether or not they come back to a clean room every day. In other words, does cleaning your room make you healthier?
Having a clean room actually has numerous health benefits. One of the benefits is reducing stress and anxiety. Coming home to a room or an entire house full of clutter and disorganization can create a subliminal to do list in your head. With this constant list in your head you may always feel busy and thus feel more stressed. According to a study by the Personality and Social Physiology Bulletin, women who described their homes as cluttered often were more depressed than women who described their homes as restful or restorative. They even contained higher levels of Cortisol, a hormone related to stress. Constantly having a mess to clean or a project to finish can be detrimental for a person’s mood. It can even negatively affect a person’s ability to sleep.
Another way that having physical order in the place you live is by affecting the way you eat. People who worked in an organized area for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who worked in a messy area, according to a study by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Since messiness and cluttered work spaces cause stress, the brain will want to relive some of this stress, and one way the brain may do this is by seeking comfort foods (like chocolate). Having a neat work space or living area will cause you to make healthier diet choices which can further help with weight loss.
Another aspect of being clean is by having an organized schedule. People who have organized schedules tend to stick to them, reducing the level of chaos that is in a typical day. This can apply to the gym. Those who have pre-determined exercises and workouts when going to a gym will stick to them and stay committed to the workouts over a long period of time. People who just go to the gym and hop on any machine that is available will have a erratic workout and will most likely not stick to it. Another way to be organized and improve your health is by setting goals. This can tie into scheduling. People who set goals in the gym will often work harder and longer than those who just lackadaisically workout.
Being clean and reducing the amount of clutter in your home or you work space can substantially improve health. Better sleep, less stress, and the likelihood of making healthier decisions are only some of the health benefits of being neat. If my roommate were to clean up his side of the room, I would be curious to see how his behavior would change. Perhaps he would seem happier and would not be so inclined to yell at his friends online about some unimportant video game while I try to sleep. One can hope.