Your environment has a profound impact on your mental health. Just as you need clean air and water to survive, you also need a healthy environment to thrive mentally. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this until it’s too late.
Too often, people try to cope with an unhealthy environment by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol or by developing unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as binge eating or compulsive shopping.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. By being mindful of the ways your environment affects your mental health, you can take steps to create a positive environment that supports your mental health. Here are eight ways your environment can affect your mental health:
1. The People You Surround Yourself With
The people you spend the most time with have a significant impact on your mental health. If you’re constantly around negative people who bring you down, it’s going to take a toll on your mental health. On the other hand, spending time with positive, supportive people can improve your mental health.
2. Your Physical Surroundings
Your physical surroundings can also have an impact on your mental health. If your home is cluttered and chaotic, it can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. But if your home is clean and organized, it can be a haven from the outside world and help you relax and de-stress. Do you know that your home’s structure can also affect your mental health? So, you might want to consider home remodeling to achieve the home of your dreams that will surely uplift your mood.
3. The Weather
You might not realize it, but the weather can also affect your mental health. If you live in an area with long, dark winters, you might be more prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Or, if you live in a hot, humid climate, the heat and humidity can make you feel irritable and uncomfortable. Also, extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and floods, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
4. The Noise Level
With all the noises of the world around us, it’s no wonder that noise pollution is a growing problem. Too much noise can lead to stress and anxiety. It can also cause or worsen headaches, high blood pressure, and heart problems. If you live in a noisy area, you can take steps to reduce the noise level, such as soundproofing your home or using noise-canceling headphones.
5. The Amount of Light
The amount of light in your environment can also have an impact on your mental health. If you’re exposed to too much light, it can cause eye strain, headaches, and even migraines. But if you don’t get enough light, it can lead to SAD. So, it’s important to find a balance. If you work in an office, try to sit near a window so you can get natural light. And when you’re at home, take advantage of daylight savings time and make sure to get outside for some Vitamin D!
6. The Smell
Have you ever noticed how certain smells can make you feel good or bad? That’s because the smell can have a direct impact on your mood and mental health. Certain smells, such as lavender and chamomile, can help you relax. But other smells, such as cigarette smoke and garbage, can make you feel anxious and stressed. So, it’s important to be aware of the smells in your environment and take steps to eliminate any negative smells.
7. The Air Quality
The air quality in your environment can have a significant impact on your mental health. Poor air quality can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Additionally, it can exacerbate existing mental health conditions. If you live in an area with poor air quality, be sure to take steps to protect your health. This may include staying indoors on days when the air quality is poor, wearing a mask when you go outside, and avoiding areas with high levels of pollution.
8. The Overall Vibe
Your environment can also affect your mental health on a more general level. If you live in a neighborhood that’s unsafe, it can make you feel anxious and stressed. Or if you work in a high-stress environment, it can take a toll on your mental health. But if you live in a supportive community and have a positive work environment, it can do wonders for your mental health.
No matter what your environment is like, there are steps you can take to improve your mental health. By being mindful of the different factors that can affect your mental health, you can take steps to create a positive environment that supports your well-being.