Ever walk into work feeling stressed after a frustrating commute? Have you come home after a day of work to a messy house and immediately felt more tense? We experience a variety of these small environmental stressors every single day. While they may seem relatively minor they add up to become “background stress” which reduces our overall level of happiness.

Cluttered workspace environment

We experience two types of stresses: background or environmental stress, and major stress. Background stress, scientifically known as environmental stress, are the minor irritations and frustrations of everyday life. When we experience major stress (like a parent falling ill for instance) environmental stresses makes these bigger events more difficult to handle and rebound from. This is why it’s important to manage environmental stressors by using strategies that alleviate them as they occur.

Environmental Stressors to Look For

  • A messy and disorganized house and/or workspace
  • A work environment that lacks brightness, both daylight and decor
  • A home that is not cleaned on a regular basis
  • A noisy workspace that makes it difficult to concentrate
  • A bedroom that has light from appliances glowing during sleep
  • A workplace with bright fluorescent lighting overhead
  • A home environment that has various unpleasant odours lingering
  • A silent workplace that lacks stimulation

Woman stressed about as a result of her environment

Managing Environmental Stressors

When these environmental stressors are present, our body produces a stress hormone which results in our brains going out of balance. Our brains respond by becoming either over or under stimulated. Over stimulation or lack thereof leads us to feel even more stressed, and further impedes our ability to focus on the task at hand. This is why it is essential to assess your environments to determine if they create a sense of tranquility or chaos. If the assessment shows chaos, implement these strategies to help return your environment to tranquil.

  • Do a deep clean of your workspace and/or house
  • Implement artwork and photos that bring you happiness into your space
  • Make sure rooms where you spend majority of your time in have access to natural light
  • Replace florescent lighting with electric lighting that is as natural as possible
  • Free your bedroom of any light at night, including that of electronics
  • Have a space within your environment where people can get away from noise
  • Reduce clutter to make it easy to find things
  • Add plants and flowers

A person finding their tranquil space

Finding Your Tranquil Space

To further reduce stress and become more resilient it is helpful to create the time and space to have tranquil experiences. It is important to keep in mind that if you’re unable to find a quiet space within your environment seek it outdoors by indulging in nature at a beach or park. Meditation and self-hypnosis are also some of the best ways to relax without physically having to go anywhere to find that tranquil space. Implementing these strategies into your life along with finding your tranquil space will lead you to better manage your stress.

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