There are many studies that relate an act as simple and everyday as cleaning with physical and mental benefits for those who do it. Yes indeed, It must be done consciously and immersively. (quite the opposite of taking it as a routine act), otherwise you could cause the opposite effect. We have spoken with the psychologist Noelia Sancho (www.noeliasancho.es), who has explained to us what the main benefits of cleaning the house are and how having a house in which there is no order prevails.
Psychologists who support this theory
Was the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályiwho already in the 70s developed the concept of flow experiences, taken up today by positive psychology. Are the activities where the mind manages to concentrate 100% and experience an immersive moment in which we lose the ‘notion of ourselves’. During this state of flow We get so involved and try so hard that the notion of time is altered and hours become minutes, like when we were children.
A study published in The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin used a linguistic analysis software to measure how several women referred to their homes. The result was that profiles associated with positive, welcoming and healthy descriptions showed lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
For its part, the World Health Organization routinely recommends carrying out some type of daily physical activity, whether in the form of sports or “housework”, among others. All with the aim of “improve cardiorespiratory and muscular functions and bone health and reduce the risk of NCDs and depression”.
Why does not having a clean house affect us?
For Noelia Sancho, psychologist“some people have a special sensitivity to clutter and are indeed greatly affected by noise or visual clutter. Keep the house tidy, the place where it is good to feel at ease, helps maintain internal order. And practicing hygiene habits and routines is positive for a good state of mind. As well as personal hygiene routines.”
And it is that, having A messy and unclean house can make us martyr and self-pity. As this expert explains to us, “sometimes we don’t take it into account as much when it happens (“how nice one more thing is done”), as when it doesn’t happen (“I’m a disaster and it’s amazing how my house is in disgust”)” .
What are the benefits of cleaning the house?
According to Noelia, the benefits of having a clean house are palpable in our daily lives, providing a feeling of well-being: “When you arrive after a day out, finding a messy house tends to be a negative stimulus. While If we remember the house and the room in order, we return more comfortable, with more of a sense of home. It provides another point of well-being.”
But the benefits of cleaning the house are not only that mental balance and well-being that makes us feel ‘at home’. As Noelia tells us, cleaning the house “we helps save resources and time (for example, finding your keys or your wallet the first time) instead of reminding ourselves every day what a mess we are, losing our nerves and wasting time. So indirectly it’s also good for some stability in mood and self-concept.”
Cleaning and organizing (as well as other types of tasks such as crafts) are considered something like a moving meditation in which mental balance is achieved through physical activity. In fact, Noelia insists that “doing housework in itself does not have any different benefits from other tasks such as shopping or picking up letters from the mailbox. But the truth is that, for some people, The focused concentration and attention that we can activate in some household tasks can help us obtain quiet moments. Organizing some drawers, methodically folding clothes or thoroughly cleaning something can give the brain some positive “energy saving” moments, like, for example, doing a puzzle.”
How to implement these cleaning routines in our daily lives?
For Noelia Sancho, The best thing is to “go little by little”, start with two tasks for at least a month and when they are consolidated, add others. Floor encourage implementing them in downtime (the TV ads to pick up dinner, the counter while I wait for the microwave, clearing the bathroom while the shower heats up…). “The brain cannot get used to several new things at the same time.”
What other benefits does cleaning have?
“There are two more benefits: on the one hand, the one we mentioned before at the level of perception and personal sensations; on the other hand, that (if it is habitual) The hassle of cleaning and making effort is considerably reduced, the brain automates it and we find it easier. As the saying goes: it is not the cleaner who cleans the most, but the one who makes the least dirt,” emphasizes Noelia.
Cleaning also improves health
Scientist NiCole R. Keith of Indiana University had an unexpected surprise when she discovered during one of her investigations that People who take more care of themselves and do physical activities take better care of their homes. Those who kept their homes cleaner were more active people and, therefore, in better general health.
Cleaning and disinfection are essential to keep a house free of dust, mites and germs, and therefore respiratory and infectious diseases. Not to mention the dangers posed by the presence of mold in the bathroom.
Even keeping the room clean and tidy is related to sleep hygieneas sometimes warned by the Spanish Sleep Society, which also recommends ventilating it and keeping it at an adequate temperature to achieve a restful and pleasant sleep (between 15 and 19 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation).
When household chores are finished we feel less guilty about dedicating more time to ourselves and our loved ones. The ‘should haves’ disappear from our heads and we apply that necessary self-compassion that the mindfulness.
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