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Personal Environment

Don Wyeth

Personal Environment

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2 mins
October 26, 2021

It is well known that there are many factors in our environment that can impact our behavior and general well-being, whether we are aware of it or not. From research at the University of Minnesota has emerged the field of mind-body interaction “The field of mind-body studies includes research on the relationship between our surroundings and our health.” takingcharge.csh.umn.edu

Our environment can affect our mood. This includes our physical and mental health, and immune systems. It has been shown that a room that has natural or artificial bright light can ameliorate anxiety and depression. Monotonous color schemes have been associated with negative thoughts and bothersome repetitive thoughts. It can also positively impact our motivation to get things done. For example, an organized, neat room encourages us to maintain the lack of clutter. 

The quality of family interaction is another way in which environment comes in to play. “… an inviting space with comfortable chairs can encourage people to sit and chat.” The quality of the physical environment can also reduce levels of stress. When stress is reduced, the human body's production of cortisol is reduced, putting less emotional and physical pressure on our systems; ergo, we live longer.

Your mood is affected by the quality of your work environment. “… Many workplaces favour a dull, beige and brown color scheme so that workers aren't distracted by their environment, but these colors can lead to feelings of depression and low-energy. www.columbiawell.org. For example, a colorful, well-appointed workspace including pictures, plants etc. can act to improve your outlook and productivity.

Besides the condition of the physical environment, emotional climate is also an important factor. “… Consider what sorts of things cause friction between family members or add frustration to your life and look for solutions.” If these physical and emotional factors are present, they can create a risk for a young child’s brain development. “A risk factor is a condition that is statistically associated with a given outcome.urbandesignmentalhealth.com

One example of negative home factors is a family situation where there is an addiction or a serious prolonged illness. These kinds of things can shape a child’s attitude from an early age, not to mention impact on the adults in the family. Poverty has been identified as one of the environmental culprits that negatively impacts the child’s psychological and educational development. “…[p]overty, then, is a risk factor for high school dropout.

So, it would seem that keeping a tidy, organized, and emotionally stable environment then becomes a crucial factor for our security and well-being; taking us way past our basic needs of food, warmth, and shelter.


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Don Wyeth

Passionate and intelligent columnist from Madison, WI.

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