Many visitors are drawn to our forest spa in search of peace and quiet, of a luxurious pampering, or to clear and rejuvenate their body, mind and soul. Our architecture, landscaping and treatments have been designed not only for temporary, short-lived outcomes, but to leave an inspirational afterglow. Thus, in search of inspiration to continue on a path to wellness and life balance, this week we turn our attention to the importance of clarity and equilibrium in the home:
Despite the popular mantra ‘Less is More’ we live in the day and age of clutter. Modern possessions, including clothes, electronics and even furniture, often have a pre-programmed shelf life, whereas in the past many acquired things with an eye on longevity, quality & timeless designs. Today, the role of marketing, advertising & branding is to generate a constant stimulus, not only in the relentless attention it demands, but also in how deep psychological insights are used to target each and everyone in subtle but powerful ways.
Technology, transportation, modern communication, and new ways of working have brought many of us closer together, but have also fundamentally changed the ways that we spend our time. Many of us feel busier, constantly multi-tasking, communicating, juggling work and private to-do lists, and finding less time to deal with the detritus of modern life. In other words, clutter accumulates, in your home, your work, your backpack, in the backseat of your car as well as in your relationships and your mind.
It’s true, some people thrive in the chaos of their cluttered study, with books, papers, post-it notes and old candy wrappers strewn left, right and centre. But for most of us, there are many sensible reasons to hit the pause button, take a look around and unclutter our life.
Here are a few to consider:
In an uncluttered environment, you spent so much less time on searching for misplaced keys or important documents. It stops you from being late for work or other important appointments. You spend less time tidying and cleaning. The result is more time available for things that are important, or fun, or fulfilling in one way or another. Unclutter your life and you soon find that you turn back the clock.
Research shows that people with cluttered homes and lives experience more stress and exhaustion and find it harder to focus or concentrate when required to do so, or to relax when they decide they need a break. Clutter seems to compete for our attention, which we have a limited amount of; when we invest mental energy on processing and dealing with such an environment, consciously and subconsciously, everyday tasks consume much more energy and concentration than normally required. Stress & exhaustion are the results.
Uncluttering removes this source of stress, and promotes focus and relaxation and lots of extra energy. And since people tend to make different decisions under stress, having a clear head even leads to better decision-making, especially on decisions that matter.
People in uncluttered homes even report increased amount of creativity, presumably because it clears the mind and allows it to focus on new and creative endeavours.
The constant stress of clutter can make us grumpy or otherwise unpleasant to be around. But not only that: a cluttered environment stops us from feeding our social needs and welcome friends and family into our home. Thus, cluttered homes experience much less social interaction. This can be particularly harsh for children, who have less opportunity to invite their friends over. Unclutter your home and you will find yourself open your doors again to let others into your life.
When we clutter our homes, we frivolously buy things we don’t need or already own but can’t find, even on food that doesn’t get consumed. With piles of unopened mail and poorly filed documents, bills get left unpaid and acquire late fees. Costs for storage can be significant too…even to the point where people rent larger accommodation than what they really need.
Stories abound of people finding jewellery or even money when they unclutter their homes. Even without such pleasant surprises, you can expect to improve your credit ranking, spend less on unneeded things and save on space and storage costs.
It’s not only stress that endangers your health in a messy environment. Dust and dirt gathers in the cluttered home, attracting dust mites and many other unsavoury germs, bugs, toxins and allergens which can make us sick…there is even some evidence that living in a messy home can lead to overeating and obesity, and other unhealthy behaviours. And you always need to watch your step – many serious but avoidable accidents happen in the cluttered home.
An uncluttered home can be cleaned & maintained much more comprehensively, with cleaner air, surfaces and belongings and less hazards to make you unwell or even send you to the hospital.
Uncluttering not only serves your own betterment, but can also help others. When we own more things than we need, instead of asking whether we could ever make use of an item again, we should ask: “does this add to our happiness and quality of life?”. If not, remember there are always people in need, less fortunate than us, whose quality of life would significantly improve with your charity. Giving to others instead of stockpiling unwanted belongings increases happiness and quality of life on both sides of the ledger.
Happiness is an elusive concept and difficult to define. And yet we agree that many things in life contribute to happiness. Having more time, focus, relaxation, money, better relationships and health surely gives most of us a happier outlook.
Freedom from unnecessary material possessions means freedom from stress, exhaustion and worry, and freedom to focus your attention on where it matters. Uncluttering your home is bound to have this positive effect.
If you would like to explore how to unclutter your mind, body and soul on your visit to Koh Samui, Thailand, pay us a visit at Tamarind Springs Forest Spa.
Until next week.
Your Tamarind Springs blog team