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The Importance of Your Surroundings for Your Mental Health & Motivation

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 21 September 2020
  • 3 minute read
The Importance of Your Surroundings for Your Mental Health & Motivation | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Thomas Lanigan. 

Mental health is not just determined by what is happening inside your head. Your environment plays an important role in shaping you. From a poorly lit office to a cluttered bedroom – all these impact your mental health.

The physical environment affects your psychological health directly. External stimuli like natural light and noise trigger a psychological response in your body. In turn, the kind and amount of neurochemicals that are released into your bloodstream strongly influence your mood, energy level and mental focus.

Another major reason why your surroundings matter is that we spend a lot of time thinking about our living environment. Maybe the dishes haven’t been done or the laundry hasn’t been folded in a week. And it bugs you every time you see it.

Changing your environment can improve your health dramatically. Here are some solutions that you can use to improve your environment and mental health.

1. Stay organized

Eliminating clutter and staying organized is not only good for your environment, but also for your mental health. Messy surroundings can make you anxious and overwhelmed. And this will lead to a significant decrease in your happiness and satisfaction.

Clutter prevents you from getting important things done. If your environment is disorganized, you don’t have to arrange everything today. Take it one step at a time. You can start by organizing your desk or kitchen, and move on to other rooms as you pick momentum.

Another simple thing that you can do to stay organized is planning your day. The best time to plan your day is the night before or immediately after waking up. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down everything that needs to get done during the day. Next, organize your activities in order of priority. You can use the ABCDE method to prioritize. You should never start working on a B task when an A task is not complete. When you start working on a task, don’t stop until you’ve completed it. Staying organized will motivate you and improve your mental health.

The Importance of Your Surroundings for Your Mental Health & Motivation | The Health Sessions
All images by Vlada Karpovich via

2. Avoid loud noises and crowds

Do concerts, airports and social gatherings make you uncomfortable? You are not alone. Studies show that loud exterior noises and crowded areas can elevate stress and anxiety levels. But it’s not only busy events that negatively impact your mental health. Crowded cities can increase the risk of schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

Researchers have also found that people who live in the city have improved emotional intelligence and memory. However, when their personal space is invaded, their mental health may get negatively impacted.

Avoiding loud noises and crowds whenever you can help you stay calm and focused. Loud noises and crowds may harm your productivity and performance. If you happen to spend a lot of time in crowded or noisy surroundings, it’s important to take short breaks regularly to meditate or take a walk. Also, create a quiet place in your home where you can retreat to and recharge.

3. Improve indoor air

Big cities have another major drawback – smog. The effects of air pollution on physical health have been researched extensively and documented. But toxins and solvents in the air can also lead to depressed mood, irritability, aggression, and an inability for one to self-manage.

You can improve the quality of air at home by planting trees, investing in a quality air conditioner and opening windows for aeration. Smoke, dust particles, and solvents can make you feel sick and unmotivated. Clean your surroundings regularly and have a plant near you while working.

The Importance of Your Surroundings for Your Mental Health & Motivation | The Health Sessions

4. Optimize your lighting

Natural light improves your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that shieling yourself from natural light can lead to anxiety and depression. Therefore, it’s important to get outside as much as you can especially if you find yourself stuck indoors all day long. Exposing yourself to daylight early in the morning will also reset your body clock which has a positive effect on your mental health.

When you can’t see or feel the sun, you should consider investing in a SAD lamp. Apart from natural lighting, office lighting can also affect your health. Poor lighting will not only affect your eyesight, but also lead to a wide range of disorders like stress and depression, especially when coupled with an intense environment. What’s more, poor lighting impacts your sleep and your productivity.

5. Head into nature

For most people, there’s nothing as relaxing as meditating on a beach while staring at the ocean waves. Research studies have shown that serene environments and natural sounds have a calming effect on the mind. If you hate sand, you should go to a grassy field and lie down for a while. If you live at the heart of a city, regularly visit the patches of green in your area, like the park or a botanical garden.

The Importance of Your Surroundings for Your Mental Health & Motivation | The Health Sessions

Boosting your motivation by using your environment

If you are feeling unfocused, stuck, and lazy, there are simple ways that you can use to clear your mind and boost your motivation using your environment:

  • Simplify. You can simplify your life by taking the time to plan creatively. Instead of doing everything that appears on your to-do list, you can delegate or eliminate low priority activities. You cannot stay motivated when your mind is everywhere.You can simplify your environment and boost your motivation by limiting distractions. Distractions will not only waste your time, but also drain your energy.
  • Focus on your achievements. One of the reasons why most people are feeling stuck is they focus on the goals that they haven’t achieved. It’s important to take your time and look at how far you’ve come from. Focusing on your achievements will help you visualize, solve complex problems and achieve more goals. You can use your environment to boost your motivation by creating a vision board.
  • Focus on giving. Some people spend a lot of time focusing on themselves and what they can extract out of others. Instead of living in your bubble, consider serving and helping others. Visiting different environments and meeting new people will help you learn and appreciate (or improve) your current environment. Shifting your mindset from receiving to giving will improve the quality of your life by helping you live consciously.
  • Effortlessly reach health goals. By adjusting your surroundings, you can make it easier to perform your healthy habits. For example, setting the table and eating from smaller plates automatically leads to eating less calories without any changes to your diet.


Your living environment hugely affects your mental health. Changing your surroundings can accelerate the healing process and improve every aspect of your life. If you are losing track, don’t hesitate to seek help. Mental health experts will help you find the causes and work together with you to come up with effective solutions.

Author Bio: Thomas Lanigan has work experience for 4 years as a marketing specialist, social media manager, writer, journalist, and editor at uni assignment help service. Also, he is a professional content writer in such topics as blogging, marketing features, progressive education programs and business.

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Thank you for including this post in your weekly round-up Claire! And for supporting other health bloggers by sharing their work.

Great post and information - I have shared a link on my regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire (PainPalsBlog) x

Thank you soo much may God bless you in many ways ☺

I'm sorry, the blog post is a few years old so the giveaway has been closed for a while now. Perhaps you can use some of the tips above to create a care package: puzzles or magazine, (free) samples of body care products if your dad is still in the hospital, a gift card for iTunes? I also like the Gifts in A Tin from DIYMommy: (Scroll down for an overview) or an edible gift like the five bean soup IF he's medically allowed to eat that of course!: Hope your father feels better soon!

I was going to leave a comment for the give away... For my dad cuz he had his gull bladder taken out a fue hrs ago but congrats... Is there a cheep way i can make something for him?

Being careful with what you eat might be a good idea if you're feeling sick or have stomach aches. Luckily, there are still plenty of things listed you can do to entertain yourself :-) Feel better soon!

When I am I'll myum doesn't let me eat so some wouldn't work 😢🍕

Hi Darci, thank you for your message. Unfortunately the guide is not available yet as a hardcover and a paperback. If that changes in the near future, I will let you know. Warm regards, Jennifer

I would like to buy this book in hard cover or paperback instead of e-book for a friend

thats #6

Super useful habits Nat! I also need to mentally unwind before bedtime or I'll be laying awake all night with thoughts racing through my mind.

A few things that help me ( I suffer from insomnia) is by not taking my phone to bed with me, i finish checking emails, social media etc in the living room and go to bed to switch off. Something else I do is turn on my essential oils diffuser an hour before bed so the room is scent with a relaxing mist of essential oils such as lavender, or vetiver which is like a sedative and incredible for helping me unwind. Another thing that work well when i can't switch my brain off is to write a quick list of everything i think i need to be dealing with now and highlighting only the ones that need to be taken care of the next day. Helps me not to feel so overwhelmed and in turn helps me fall asleep easier.

I'm touched by your kind words Darla, thank you. It's perfectly normal that you're resentful and feel sorry for yourself. You've had a lot to deal with. Not just experiencing horrible symptoms on a daily basis, but also having to adjust the plans you had for your future and your sense of identity. To me, positivity in the face of adversity is not about having an irrealistic rose-colored view of life. But I do believe that trying to find the good in little things each day can help make the bad ones more bearable. It's a challenge, but your insightful comment tells me that you're up for it ;-) Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Good luck, be gentle with yourself and take care Darla!

Dr.Jen the Zen one, first off you rock! Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 4 years ago and 2 years ago double pneumonia that left me with heart failure with 28% left undamaged it has seriously limited my mobility energy patience and unfortunately my positive attitude. 52 years on this planet, I lived a happy-go-lucky , look on the bright side, things will be better tomorrow, or crack a silly joke and get over it type of life. Now for the first time in my life I find myself having to work at being positive. Anger and resentment and even the dreaded " poor little me" mindset is trying to set up permanent residence. And tonight I find your blog and it gives me hope I just want to say "Thank you" Darla

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