How the Area You Live In Affects Your Mental Health

Mental Health

Physical aspects of your environment, as well as how you relate with the people you share it with, affect your mental health in a myriad of ways. The effects these factors have on the mind are woven into the fabric of everyday thoughts and feelings in such a way that many might feel that they are in full control of their mental state, mindless of their local setting.

Psychologists agree— The reality, though, is that our evolutionary makeup readily responds to certain characteristics in the area around us. Our communal nature is inescapable, eliciting the need to explore how the subconscious processes these things and their implications on psychological health when endeavoring to instill a more positive outlook.

Although the influence your community poses on your mood and conscious experience is potent, it can be altered to a certain point. Your mind filters information gathered through your senses based on prior conditioning and previous associations.

After becoming aware of how the area around your home affects your mental health, you can either choose to:

  • Accept your sensory perceptions and the associations your psyche has with them
  • Consciously seek out a new community that will better complement your personality
  • Potentially alter them through intention, integrating new ways to perceive and interact with your current area

Either way, awareness starts here— Ask yourself the following questions to help ascertain how the community and atmosphere surrounding your home are impacting your psychological state. In other words, here’s how your home affects your mental health:

  • Community:

  • Do You Feel a Sense of Belonging?

Isolation and depression often arise from feeling deeply unaligned with your surrounding culture. In order to foster a stable inner foundation on which to authentically express, explore, and ultimately grow towards your potential, a sense of external belonging is key.

When you share similar cultural values with others that live in your city, you feel valued. This underlying sense of being understood is what drives active involvement in improving both your own life and the lives of those around you. If you find that your values differ significantly from your neighbors, it might be time to…

Find others that are on a more similar wavelength, either through seeking out a smaller cultural crowd in your surrounding area or by considering the possibility of moving to a new community that feels more aligned with your authentic self and actively strives to connect!

  • How Do You Associate With Your Neighbors?

The type of communication you have with your community, as well as the activities you collectively participate in, have a huge impact on how comfortable you feel in the space you are sharing. While conflicts and inconsistent interactions make for a consistently stressful living situation, respect and compatibility support a sense of calm.

Collaboration is a crucial component of growth, both on a personal level and within a community. Whether you enjoy being involved in nature-based activities, activism, or the arts, coming together with those who share your interests is an important part of creating a life of contentment. If you are currently lacking in inspiration…

Try a new approach to interacting with your neighbors, either by making it a point to avidly attend events or by moving your home base to a place that will naturally bring you together through shared passions… such as skiing!

  • Atmosphere:

  • What Do You Sense in Your Environment?

Our individual experiences of reality primarily arise from a collection of sensory input and our subconscious perceptions about it. This means that the climate, colors, sounds, and aromas in our environment, as well as the instinctual feelings they initiate, have a huge impact on our mental state.

The way in which we integrate this input is affected by both collective and individual conditioning. Collectively, clutter and unclean areas are proven to evoke unease, conflicting with an evolutionary inclination towards order and an easily survivable environment. If you find that you feel “on edge” as you walk out the front door…

Actively strive to clean up your community and foster a more uplifting atmosphere, work to actively focus on characteristics that stimulate positive emotions, or hand-pick somewhere to live that evokes clarity and peace!

  • What Do You Associate Your Local Area With?

Although it can be difficult to acknowledge, our past associations with an area affect our present perception of it. If you experienced traumatic moments in an environment you are currently living in or around, underlying triggers could still be affecting your mental health and happiness.

As a protective measure against future threats, the mind sends psychological and physiological stress signals that urge you to fight or flee from something that hurt you in the past. Even if the danger is no longer present or was purely emotional, it subconsciously stores these areas as current threats to your survival. If you experienced past trauma in your present living space…

Seek the help of a therapist to help process your traumas, soothing the survival instincts of your mind so you can start thriving in your space. Depending on their severity and your need to stay nearby, you may even want to start fresh in a whole new neighborhood!

Since “home is where the heart is”, it is important to make sure your home fills it with feelings of happiness. Taking your mental health into your own hands starts with honest consideration of what your psychological garden needs to grow.

Evaluate how your physical and social environment is affecting your mind, and you will attain a special power. Lift your conscious everyday experience to new heights by channeling this knowledge into loving action:

Choose to cultivate a living space that is in harmony with your unique mental make-up and personality!

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About the Author: John Watson

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