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Clutter in our life and clutter in our brain: when mess can cause stress.

Our brain is a marvellous and powerful organ, capable of many remarkable feats. Its 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion synapses have an impressive processing power and it is this power that beautifully orchestrates our body and mind operations. Speech, movement and all bodily functions coordinated by this spectacular “machine.”

Could our modern consumeristic and accumulation-prone lifestyle be affecting our brain power? Mess in our surroundings ends up affecting our mind and consequently our mental wellbeing through a sequence of events happening in a way faster than we think according to experimental science.


1. Stimulus bombardment causing distraction. Focus comes from limited stimuli in the mind’s environment. The piling up of unnecessary and often excess stimulation of the senses (acoustic, visual, olfactory, tactile) overwhelm the mind.

2. Distraction causing higher stress. Clutter is known to raise levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. An extensive study from the Los Angeles-based Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) looked at 60 families and found that women who described their home as cluttered had higher levels of cortisol throughout the day and other studies find that the Cortisol levels may stay high even at night¹.

3. Stress leading to desperate multitasking.


In its over-stimulated condition the brain becomes ‘disoriented’ and the visual cortex can no longer sort through² what it is trying to process; an NIH study found that the brain’s sensory response becomes weaker when it’s overloaded, leading to stimuli suppressing each other³.

4. Overloading affecting judgment.

“Visual clutter causes high-magnitude errors”. In this 2006 study, researchers reported higher error rates in participants surrounded by clutter, but also high response-confidence⁴.

5. Impulsiveness and unbalanced decisions. With our judgement affected, we could make some wrong choices which could affect our mood, wellbeing and possibly others in our lockdown reality especially at times when we need them the most.



Minimalism and Marie Kondo-ing may after be leading to wellbeing and what a better time to do that while still in lock-down!

Sources: ¹https://repettilab.psych.ucla.edu/no%20place%20like%20home.pdf²https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167 ³https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981005073941.htm ⁴https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.0040056









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