If you think that your environment and your emotions are two entirely separate things — think again! It turns out that there are profound and intimate links between them, and one is not always separable from the other. Living in a dirty, messy home, for instance, has been shown to be damaging to mental health. It creates chaos and clutter when your unconscious mind wants order and stability. The type of city you live in also makes a difference. People who live in polluted or dangerous areas tend to have lower wellness scores than those that live in happy, productive, and clean locations.
Multiple environmental factors play into your mental health. However, as you might expect, each person is different — what affects one person might not affect another. Here’s how environmental factors impact your mental health, and what you can do about them.
Your Environment Impacts Your Well-Being
According to researchers, multiple environmental factors determine how you feel. These include physical factors around you as well as the community spirit. Your housing environment, for instance, can have an effect. People tend to have higher levels of well-being when they live in attractive, warm, and cozy properties. Their homes recharge their batteries, so to speak, enabling them to take on the challenges of the world with more confidence. Well-being tends to decline when properties are dilapidated, dirty, or affected by dampness.
Your community is also a factor. Areas with higher levels of crime tend to have lower levels of well-being, independent of the effects of crime themselves.
What’s interesting about this is the implications it has for our mental health. Adults spend the majority of their time in unnatural environments, either at work or at home. When people move from one place to another, it can profoundly influence their mood. Some people who suffer from depression find that their symptoms are alleviated when they get out into nature.
Social environments have a big impact as well. Individuals who don’t have as much support tend to struggle more with their mental health. It is easier to cope when other people are around. Those with friends, family, housemates, and community tend to deal with stressors more easily, as compared to those who don’t have these advantages.
There is also some evidence that lighting levels can affect your mood. People who live in brightly lit areas tend to feel better than those who occupy dark, dank environments. This is one of the reasons why many people don’t live in cellars — there just isn’t enough light to regulate their body clocks.
Environmental Factors That Affect Your Mental Health
Here are some of the specific factors that affect how you perceive and interpret your environment. Each of these influences provokes different psychological responses.
The familiarity you have with an environment can affect how you feel about it. If you have positive associations with going home to your parents’ house, you will actually experience this in your body when you arrive. You may feel a sense of peace or calm, which you simply can’t find when living somewhere else.
However, it can also work the other way. Familiarity can be a negative thing — dredging up unwanted memories from the past, and reminding you of times when you were depressed or treated poorly.
You can adjust the level of familiarity in your home by altering the environment. You might want to put familiar objects on the walls or atop the fireplace, such as family photos or keepsakes. These can subtly influence your mood and make you feel more connected to the space.
Likewise, you might also want to remove these items — if they are causing you distress.
The people you spend time with also have a profound impact on how you feel. If you are around elevating people who support you, you’ll feel like you can do just about anything you want with your life. Likewise, if you are around negative individuals who bring you down — life will feel like a constant series of battles.
So, be careful who you share your spaces with. Low conflict and compassionate relationships help to support your mental health. Even if they don’t feel exciting at times — embrace their peacefulness.
The lighting, smells, and color of an environment can also profoundly affect your mood. Shutter companies know this very well. They understand that the level of light that gets into a room determines how the occupants feel. When light levels are high — as they should be in the daytime — it helps to calibrate the your natural sleep-wake cycle.
Unwanted noises can be problematic. That’s why so many people install sound insulation — so they can stop sirens, street sounds, or even the weather from disturbing their tranquillity.
The level of tidiness can also make a substantial difference in how you feel. When your rooms are tidy, it has an influence on your unconscious. The less cluttered your environment — the less you have to think about — and the more you can ease into life.
If you must have objects around you, make sure that they are meaningful. Avoid cramming your home full of possessions, which don’t really add anything to the experience of your home.
It is critical to interact with people who share a similar culture and set of values to you, so you can avoid feeling isolated on a deeper level. If you hold views that other people don’t accept, it can be a lonely experience. Perhaps your politics or food preferences are different — or you are seeking a different kind of spiritual experience from the people around you.
In this situation, you must seek out like-minded people. You will want individuals that you can relate to, who share your passions and approach to life.
Concentrate On What You Can Control
Changing your environment might seem a little overwhelming at first. After all, there are some things that are outside of your control. You can’t, for instance, control the level of crime in your area. That’s a matter for the policymakers and the police.
The trick here is to solely focus on what you can control. Look at areas of your life that will have the most impact on how you feel and change them. For instance, a good place to start is decluttering your bedroom. At night, you want a place you can go that helps you relax and get restful sleep.
The next stop could be the kitchen. Cooking a meal from scratch is never a pleasant experience when there is a mountain of dirty dishes to be cleaned in the sink.
Adjust your relationships. Spend your time with elevating people that lift you up — and help you move toward the aspirations you have for your life. Avoid those who drain your energy, or who are outright abusive. Be very careful with the friends you choose to be with.
Adjust Your Perceptions
You can also try modifying your perceptions. How you choose to see the world has a massive impact on your mental health. If you believe that threats lie around every corner, you’re always going feel unease. However, if you engage in opportunities and don’t take yourself too seriously — then you will flourish. Things are easier when you can turn down the dial from time to time.
Forming a routine can also help. When you have habits — you create a sense of control — allowing yourself the space to pursue the things that you really want in life.
More From Brain World
- Don’t Just Survive, Be Happy: 12 Weeks to Living a Happier Life
- Give Your Brain Hopes and Dreams
- Happiness Economics: Does Wealth Provide Happiness?
- Time in a Bottle: The Mystery of Déjà Vu
- What “Tip of the Tongue” Tells Us About How Memory Works
- Why Are Some People More Positive Than Others?
How does your environment affect your emotions? ›
The environment can influence mood. For example, the results of several research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.How does our environment affect us how do we affect it? ›
Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water.How does the environment affect your mental and emotional health? ›
Air pollution, among other environmental threats, is particularly harmful, both physically—through damage to our lungs, heart, etc. —and mentally. There is now growing evidence of a link between certain air pollutants and mental illnesses such as depression, dementia, anxiety and suicide.How does the environment affect me? ›
Environmental pollutants can cause health problems like respiratory diseases, heart disease, and some types of cancer. People with low incomes are more likely to live in polluted areas and have unsafe drinking water. And children and pregnant women are at higher risk of health problems related to pollution.How does the environment make people feel? ›
For example, harsh lighting and loud noises can lead to anxiety or agitation, while dark and cold spaces can lead to feeling unmotivated—especially in the winter. People: Indirect or inconsistent communication, conflicts, and unreliable people in the environment can be very stressful to manage.What factors affect your emotions? ›
- Biological Sex and Gender.
- Social Conventions.
- Social Roles.
- Fear of Disclosure.
- Emotional Contagion.
- Surround yourself with nature. Plenty of research suggests that nature makes us feel good and improves our health, too, whether we're taking a nature walk, living in areas with more green space, or just looking at trees. ...
- Create opportunities for awe. ...
- Clear the clutter.
An individual's social environment can negatively affect a person's health leading to obesity, mental health problems, and a higher risk of diseases. Typically, those that are lower on the social ladder are twice as likely to develop a health condition.Why environment is important in our life? ›
Our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we irrigate our crops with. We also rely on them for numerous other goods and services we depend on for our health, happiness and prosperity. These natural assets are often called the world's 'natural capital'.What are 3 environmental factors that affect mental health? ›
Substance abuse. Pollution. Exposure to toxins during childhood. Extreme weather conditions (such as excessive rain or snow)
What are some environmental influences that affect you socially? ›
- Social stigma (such as coming out as gay or lesbian)
- History of abuse.
- Family discord during childhood.
- Early loss of a parent.
- Lack of spirituality or religious affiliation.
- Lack of meaningful work or hobbies.
- Toxic relationships.
There is indeed evidence in psychology suggesting that being exposed to green, natural environments improves mental well-being. Mechanisms include a reduction in stress, a rise in positive emotions, cognitive restoration, and positive effects on self-regulation.How nature affects mental health? ›
Nature can generate many positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, and creativity and can facilitate concentration. Nature connectedness is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health, particularly lower depression and anxiety.Does where you live affect your mental health? ›
Location matters—and not just in real estate. Psychologists have long known that people's surroundings can influence their moods and mental health, and that mental health services are unevenly distributed in communities.What environmental factors affect stress? ›
Stressors are environmental factors that cause stress. They include biotic factors such as food availability, the presence of predators, infection with pathogenic organisms or interactions with conspecifics, as well as abiotic factors such as temperature, water availability and toxicants.How environment can influence personality? ›
Environmental factors, such as upbringing, culture, geographic location, and life experiences, greatly influence our personality. For example, a child raised in a harmonious environment may have a more positive or calm outlook and disposition.Can my environment make me depressed? ›
Environmental problems can trigger depression in someone with a genetic predisposition for the disorder. But even those who don't have genetic risk factors for depression can develop symptoms due to environmental factors.What environmental factors cause anxiety? ›
A variety of environmental factors can increase the likelihood of anxiety. For example, a person's family composition, their cultural and religious upbringing, and many other childhood experiences can influence anxiety levels, according to a 2018 review.How does social environment affect emotional development? ›
Children who have good social relationships have greater self esteem than those who do not and are less likely to experience mental health problems including depression and anxiety. There is also evidence that pro-social behaviour during childhood leads to better psychological health in adulthood.What are the 5 environmental factors? ›
Air, water, climate, soil, natural vegetation and landforms are all environmental factors. By definition, the environmental factors affect everyday living, and play a key role in bringing health differences across the geographic areas.
What are 5 benefits of environment? ›
The natural environment gives us a wealth of services that are difficult to measure in dollars. Natural areas help clean our air, purify our water, produce food and medicines, reduce chemical and noise pollution, slow floodwaters, and cool our streets. We call this work 'ecosystem services'.What is the most important thing for the environment? ›
Reduce your waste
We need to make wasting our resources unacceptable in all aspects of our life. Every product we buy has an environmental footprint and could end up in landfill. The impact of plastic pollution on our oceans is becoming increasingly clear, having drastic impacts on marine life.
- Avoid from diseases caused by unhealthy environment.
- The environment becomes cooler.
- Free from air pollution.
- Water becomes cleaner and safer to drink.
- More calm in running daily activities.
Environmental factors include temperature, food, pollutants, population density, sound, light, and parasites.What are 4 factors that can affect emotional health? ›
childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect. social isolation or loneliness. experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism. social disadvantage, poverty or debt.What are the 5 main factors that influence mental and emotional health? ›
There are so many factors that have an impact on our mental health, including genetics, family history, childhood experiences — and even big societal issues like violence, discrimination or poverty. And how those factors affect us can change over time.What are the most common environmental impacts? ›
One of the biggest environmental problems today is outdoor air pollution. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that an estimated 4.2 to 7 million people die from air pollution worldwide every year and that nine out of 10 people breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants.
Cutting down trees and littering have a negative effect on animals and plants. Protecting endangered species and cleaning lakes and seas has a positive effect on the environment. At home you can help the planet by recycling waste and growing plants or vegetables.Does nature affect a person's thoughts and feelings explain? ›
Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.How does nature influence human behavior? ›
The natural environment has influenced human behavior from the beginning of humankind up till the present. It has influenced us in our behaviour towards our food, shelter, clothing, vocabulary acquisition and ideology.
Why does nature affect personality? ›
Nature refers largely to our genetics. It includes the genes we are born with and other hereditary factors that can impact how our personality is formed and influence the way that we develop from childhood through adulthood.How can I be more sensitive to the environment? ›
- Recycle. Recycling conserves natural resources, reduces pollution and saves energy. ...
- Turn down the bag. ...
- Buy only what you will use. ...
- Buy second hand. ...
- Don't invest in idle equipment. ...
- Donate used goods. ...
- Buy products with less packaging. ...
- Avoid disposable products.
- Reduce water usage.
- Use less electricity.
- Eat less meat. We're not saying you have to go vegetarian, but easy changes go a long way over time.
- Avoid plastic. Really, the less you use the better.
- Drive less. Walk, bike, take the bus! Even fuel-efficient cars pollute, so park them when you can.
Environmental problems can trigger depression in someone with a genetic predisposition for the disorder. But even those who don't have genetic risk factors for depression can develop symptoms due to environmental factors.Can the environment affect one's behavior? ›
Human behavior depends on the environment in which it takes place, while in turn people also influence the environment by their presence and activities [1,2]. As part of the environment, people behave in response to both physical and social settings .Does where you live affect your mood? ›
Location matters—and not just in real estate. Psychologists have long known that people's surroundings can influence their moods and mental health, and that mental health services are unevenly distributed in communities.Can your environment affect your anxiety? ›
A variety of environmental factors can increase the likelihood of anxiety. For example, a person's family composition, their cultural and religious upbringing, and many other childhood experiences can influence anxiety levels, according to a 2018 review.What are the four environmental issues that affects human lives and behavior? ›
A number of specific environmental issues can impede human health and wellness. These issues include chemical pollution, air pollution, climate change, disease-causing microbes, lack of access to health care, poor infrastructure, and poor water quality.What are some examples of traits influenced by the environment? ›
Explanation: Environmental factors influence traits in plants and animals. These traits include things like weight, height, size, and color. If a child does not get proper nutrition, their height may be stunted as an adult.Can environmental triggers impact mental health as well? ›
In addition, people are also exposed to numerous environments. These environmental exposures (e.g., green space, noise, air pollution, weather conditions, housing conditions) might trigger mental disorders or be protective factors, facilitating stress reduction, mental recovery, etc.