Does a messy room really mean you have a messy mind?

Photo from NBC
Photo from NBC

If you’re anything like me, you do your homework at the kitchen counter. Not because it’s necessarily a prime study spot, but because your room is simply too messy to concentrate. 

However, as soon as that room is clean, I’ve found my mood to drastically increase. I feel as though I’m more organized; more productive. I began to wonder if this is a universal experience.

According to Neuroscience News, for many people clutter and disorder can affect more than just our cognitive resources. “They’re also linked to our eating, productivity, mental health and more,” the site states.

Messy rooms have been proven to have a detrimental effect on our minds. This, in turn, makes it hard to focus on the task at hand, like homework for example.

Interestingly, a study done by Sage Journals showed that within 60 dual-income couples, the women living within cluttered households experience higher levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) than men, who remained unaffected for the most part. Researchers theorized that women may feel a responsibility for keeping the space clean and develop a fear of societal judgment.

As Neuroscience News stated, living within a disorganized space may have greater effects on our lives than just unproductivity. It has also been linked to underlying anxiety disorders, depression or attention deficit disorder. 

This raises the question of what comes first; is clutter the source of anxiety and stress, or is anxiety and stress the source of clutter? 

For many people, disorder often leads to increased creativity. Studies have shown that subjects with a messy room are quicker to solve challenging brain teasers and puzzles, rather than those who live within the conventional tidy space. 

The New York Times launched an experiment on this issue in 2013, in which they told forty-eight research subjects to brainstorm new ways for a ping-pong ball factory to utilize ping-pong balls. 

The research subjects with a messy room submitted responses that were judged to be 28 percent more creative than their tidy-roomed counterparts, with about five times the amount of responses submitted.

Additionally, there are always dangers behind being a perfectionist. According to a journal from Physiological Science, those who strive for a spotless, polished room 100% of the time most likely have some underlying mental issues causing them to feel pressured into maintaining this unrealistic standard. The fact of the matter is: real-life rooms don’t look like the ones in magazines.

Messy rooms also lead to a high schooler’s worst enemy – procrastination. With the amount of workload we get in our everyday lives, we knock the task of cleaning to the bottom of the list, over and over again. Procrastination takes many forms, from simply ignoring the mess to having a breakdown over it on a random Thursday night.

I highly suggest to anybody who relates to this issue to take some time at least once a week to clean your room. While the weekdays are consumed by schoolwork, clubs or sports, weekends may be a chance to tidy up. You may find it extremely beneficial for the upcoming week.

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