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Is Your House Making You Depressed?

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Is Your House Making You Depressed?

by Cris Carl

There are an estimated 18.8 million adults in America diagnosed with some type of depressive disorder. Not only that, but pretty much everybody will experience mild depression in their lifetime. One way to support a healthier mental/emotional state is being in a house where you feel “safe, secure, and relaxed,” said Jane Williams, Coordinator of Clinical Services for ServiceNet Inc. in Massachusetts. “The impact of your space on your over-all mood is really important,” she said.

Williams, who visits most of her clients in their homes, and has worked extensively on her own house, has become very aware of how we are affected by the place we live in. She gave a personal example of being stuck in the kitchen while her family was enjoying a gathering or television show. “My solution was to cut a hole in the wall. Now I don’t have to feel left out of my family’s activities when I’m cooking,” said Williams.

What is one of the number one depressive element you might have in your house?

Clutter,” said Williams. “It’s not so much about how clean your house is. It’s more about what you face when you walk in the door every day.” Williams added that having clutter, unpaid bills, etc. face you every time you come home “can put you right over the edge. You are constantly being reminded of things that need to be done. And the people who tend to procrastinate, you’re not fooling anyone, it’s still there.”

William’s solution, and one she uses herself, is to designate a space that can be “uncontrolled,” such as a closet, or drawer, or even a room.” Essentially, if you can organize your belongings, and take unnecessary clutter out of the equation, you are likely to experience less stress, and therefore, less depression.”

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Read more: Bed & Bath, Conditions, Depression, Feng Shui & Organizing, General Health, Green Home Decor, Health, Health & Safety, Home, Mental Wellness, Self-Help, Spirit, ,

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151 comments

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3:45PM PST on Jan 27, 2012

Very very true article. I have health issues so I don't get to clean a lot. But the thing I constantly do is pick up clutter, and that does help anxiety/depression. We have only two windows in the apartment also, which i find so downing. Time to move. Busting at the seams.

11:49PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

Cheers :)

4:35AM PDT on Jun 8, 2011

Great article.

1:31AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

Good article!

6:50PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

I know I get SAD each winter. But this year has been worse than usual, because 3 months ago my husband and I moved 4 hours away from my family, our pets are still staying with my parents because we can't afford the ridiculous pet deposit yet, I've had 3 colds since we moved, our one dog had to get put down only last week and on top of it all many of our things don't have homes yet and it's cluttered and the flow doesn't feel right yet and it just doesn't feel like home yet. And the more I get done at home the better I feel, it's a slow process but it is possible!

5:17AM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

Great tips. Thanks. I leave a lot of drapes shut so letting in some light may be a good start.

12:49AM PDT on Oct 30, 2010

Excellent article. Thank you. Am currently dealing with clutter issues in my own home, and this has given me a few other things to think about.

4:41PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

I know the feeling

11:01PM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

Here's something the article forgot to mention: A house that you've lived in for a long time can become VERY DEPRESSING-- not because of clutter or unfinished projects but because of something I might call "habituation to stimulus." It's kinda like wearing perfume; after about 2 hours you can't smell it anymore. Same with a house, especially a smallish house. Live in it about 17 years (like I have in mine), and you find yourself waking up every day with a cold, gray sense of flatness -- even doom. This is subtle, but it's THERE... And why? because, as you gradually realize, you can no longer "sense" the house you're living in. You've spent so many years trodding the same little pathways, reaching for the same objects in their same locations, looking out the same windows at the same views, sitting in the same damn chair(s)... Well, you get the point. I've read more than once how the depression that comes with aging is really more like the depression of sameness, sameness, sameness.... you start losing the ability to see, feel or connect with your life as novelty is slowly but surely replaced by repetition in all one's waking hours. Thus it is with a house. If ya can't get out of it: CHANGE IT AROUND! Paint it purple! Build rockeries in the yard! Knock out a wall! My house is rented so I'm limited re the changes, but I'm on the verge of finally taking flight! (mold in the basement doesn't help one's depression either.) Cheers!

9:18AM PDT on Oct 23, 2010

interesting how it all effects the brain

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