It is common knowledge that a variety of factors, including genetics, previous history, physical health, current circumstances, neurotransmitters, and others, affect a person's mental health. While there are still many professional psychologists and academics who are unaware of the existence of mental illnesses, one thing is certain: these problems are complex and multi-causal. But one of the most significant of all will be discussed in this blog: a person's environment. Exposure to green places can boost mental wellness, according to recent research. Spending time in natural settings can reduce the signs of mental illness while boosting happiness and subjective well-being.
What aspects of one's environment might affect their mental health?
• Light. Light has a variety of psychological effects on people. One way is that it can affect a person’s circadian rhythm, which is the body's normal sleep-wake cycle. When a person's circadian rhythm is off, it may affect their mood, just as getting too little sleep may be bad for their mood. Excessive exposure to blue light from LED lights, computers, tablets, and cellphones is particularly detrimental and disruptive to sleep cycles. People are more prone to mental health problems like depression when their sleep patterns are disturbed. Additionally, serotonin levels being affected by light is another way it might have an impact on someone's mental health. A chemical called serotonin regulates mood, hunger, and sleep. Depression may result from low serotonin levels.
According to one study, light therapy may be used to treat bipolar illness or depression. Those who reside in regions with chilly, gloomy winters frequently experience "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (SAD) or the "winter blues." As they are compelled to spend weeks at a time in artificial light without the advantage of the sun, their disposition becomes more depressed. Several studies indicate that some SAD sufferers benefit from light therapy using light boxes, light banks, or light simulators.
Limit your exposure to blue light for an hour or two before bed to promote healthier circadian rhythms and sleep habits. Make sure you are exposed to enough light during the day, either from the sun or from strong artificial light. The proper management of light can assist with some of your symptoms, such as mood fluctuations, excessive tiredness, or sleeplessness.
• Clutter. Items that are disorganized and scattered around are referred to as clutter. Generally speaking, clutter is a collection of things that individuals keep around their homes even if they may not need them. Our capacity to focus, sleep, and anxiety levels can all be impacted by clutter. Inducing coping and avoidance mechanisms that increase our propensity to nibble on junk food and watch TV can also reduce our productivity (including ones about other people decluttering their lives).
A study done in 2012 stated that mothers who lived in cluttered homes in Los Angeles exhibited high levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released when we are stressed. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that cluttered settings are associated with higher rates of sleeplessness, which results in poor hormone regulation—another crucial aspect of managing mental health.
• Pollution. Any of these sources of pollution, including air and noise, can have an effect on mental health. According to research, people who breathe contaminated air undergo modifications in the parts of their brains responsible for emotion regulation. As a result, they may be more susceptible to anxiety and depression than people who breathe clean air.
On the other hand, frequent or loud noise can cause anxiety or stress since the brain is always listening for warning indications of danger, even during sleep. A person's susceptibility to stress rises with extended exposure to noise pollution. Noise pollution can make people agitated, tense, annoyed, or furious. Moreover, the effect of noise on a person's mental health worsens if they believe they have no control over it.
How can one’s environment affect recovery?
A person's environment can have a variety of effects on how quickly they recover from addiction. One example is how it may influence their level of recovery motivation. It may be challenging for someone to remain motivated if those around them are not supportive of their recovery or are still turning to drugs. If you are around drug users, it may be harder to resist temptation. The person's living situation might also have an effect on their mental health. Living in a challenging or unsafe environment might make it more challenging to maintain sobriety since it may be difficult to manage stress without turning to drugs or alcohol.
There are a few things people may do to make the environment better for their recovery from addiction. One is to locate a welcoming group of individuals who are also going through recovery. This may be a great source of support and inspiration. Finding a secure and healthy place to live can also be beneficial. Finding the ideal area to live in can be difficult, but there are many resources that can assist individuals in doing so. Ultimately, it's critical to practice good stress management. Healthy coping techniques, including exercise, meditation, and journaling, can be used to achieve this.
Understanding the Effects of the Environment on Mental Health
Although dealing with mental health concerns might seem daunting, you are not traveling this path alone. Our clinicians at Solstice Pacific can help you identify your symptoms and determine the root cause of them. Do not hesitate to contact us through our website or via phone at (949) 200-7929. To help us get to know you better, you may also fill out this quick assessment and verify your insurance.