Stress-Busting by cleaning?
A cluttered house can lead to negative emotions like irritability, tension, worry, whereas a clean space is more likely to be linked to positive emotions like feeling happy, calm and a sense of wellbeing
Picking up cleaning equipment and getting down to clear clutter around oneself could be one possible way to cope with stress. But, what really is stress cleaning?
"The act of cleaning, if done within limits, can bring an added benefit of exercise, which can be great for relieving stress, so called 'stress-cleaning'. Response to stress can be subjective, for example, some people can comfort eat or exercise or some may resort to cleaning as a way of stress-busting", states Dr Santosh Bangar, Consultant Psychiatrist, Global Hospital, Mumbai told IANSlife.
A cluttered house can lead to negative emotions like irritability, tension, worry, whereas a clean space is more likely to be linked to positive emotions like feeling happy, calm and a sense of wellbeing. People can experience a feeling of achievement or pride, enhanced self-esteem after a cleaning-up session.
What causes it?
Our brain responds to stress with a fight or flight reaction by the amygdala, which is associated with facilitating emotions like fear or anxiety. Another brain area called prefrontal cortex regulating emotions gets deactivated and works less. So, while the stress is getting triggered, the system supposed to keep it in check is slowing down!
Why it could be good and bad?
The response to stress is subjective, as some people can respond well to stress or even thrive (healthy stress), while other people's emotions can be excessive leading to a full blown panic attack, characterised by shaking of body, dryness of mouth, sweating, palpitations, rapid breathing, feeling of impending doom. If excessive stress goes undetected or untreated, it may have number of physical and mental health complications.
Depression, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, substance misuse, sleep disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and suicide in extreme cases are known complications of untreated and persistent stress. Stress cleaning can worsen or induce OCD, Dr Bangar says.
The physical health complications include, impaired blood sugar or diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension, heart attack, impaired fat levels and uncommonly various forms of cancers.
Various forms of relaxation techniques are useful in dealing with stress, one such being 'stress-cleaning' or 'stress-baking' during periods of social isolation or lockdown. Others can be meditation, for example, mindfulness, yoga or deep breathing exercise. Listening to soothing music, taking regular exercise are other ways of managing stress at home. Reduce caffeine, smoking and alcohol intake, getting a refreshing sleep and eating a balanced diet can go long way to reduce stress. Of course, if these measures are not enough, then one must seek specialist professional help at the earliest.
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