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What cleanliness says about your mental health

Some people get overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning their house (Photo: Shutterstock)

Have you ever walked into a room so spotlessly clean, you could lick spilled milk from the floor? On the flip side, what happens when you go into a messy room? You’ll probably want to leave as soon as possible in the hope that you won’t get sick or have to endure bad smells.

ALSO READ: Bathroom mistakes that could be making us sick

These two rooms bring out different feelings. According to Psychology Today, neatness and order support good health, helps us feel better about ourselves and can contribute to physical and mental health. 

There is a clear cut difference between clean, obsessively clean and messy. All these situations show a lot about what is going on with you psychologically. Read on to know what each means.

Being clean

There is absolutely no problem with being clean or loving a clean environment. Very Well Mind reports that a clean environment leads to lower stress levels. When you get home from work and walk into the house, find no dirty dishes or dirty clothes lying on the sofas, you are likely to enjoy staying there more because your home is more relaxing. 

A clean environment not only contributes to the wellbeing of your mental health but it’s also a show of your mental state. According to Good Housekeeping, cleaning your home can help manage anxiety and reduce stress.

Cleaning obsessively can be a way to gain control when one is anxious (Photo: Shutterstock)

Excessive cleanliness could be a sign of OCD

I had a friend in campus who preferred to skip night outs to clean what appeared to be an already clean house. If an insect landed on his shirt, he would walk out of the lecture hall to change his shirt. On seeing his behaviour, we convinced him to go for counselling. 

ALSO READ: Five cleaning mistakes you make and what you should do instead

The university counsellor diagnosed him with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The counsellor explained that his obsessive cleaning behaviour was a way to relieve him from anxiety and calm his nerves.

Anthropologist Martin Lang in conjunction with the University of Connecticut found that in times of stress and anxiety, people resorted to repetitive behaviours like cleaning to gain some sort of control. 

Cleaning your home can help manage anxiety and reduce stress (Photo: Shutterstock)

Messiness as a sign of depression

Have you ever watched those cleaning shows and you’re left wondering how anyone can live in such an utter mess? For years it has been thought that people who have a messy home are inherently lazy. However, Very Well Mind explains that messiness, especially when it is something unusual or new, could be a sign of a deeper problem. 

People who are going through depression often report that they feel excessively tired. This exhaustion can prevent them from cleaning up their homes even when they are quite aware that it needs a clean.

If you walk into a friend’s home and it is super messy, before you start reprimanding the host for their lack of cleanliness and/or excessive clutter stop to evaluate the reason behind the behaviour. More often than not you will find that they are dealing with something else and need help. You can be their knight in shining armour and help them get through this difficult time. However, in extreme cases, enlist the help of a professional therapist

ALSO READ: Five hygiene tips every woman needs to know

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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