CTV Morning Live: The Psychology of Cleaning

CTV Morning Live: The Psychology of Cleaning

Mental health and cleaning have a complicated relationship.

I had time with Catherine on CTV Morning Live today talking about cleaning:

Cleaning, like all behaviors come out of how we are feeling about ourselves and the world. When we are mindful of our behaviours such as cleaning, we can develop insight–with potential to make different choices.

We can engage with cleaning to:

  • Work off adrenaline, rather like a run, when stressed
  • Create a sense of control and order in a world that feels chaotic and spinning
  • Escape the responsibilities and stressors of life
  • Numb out from that which terrifies us
  • Have “today me” be kind to “tomorrow me” knowing that I’ll feel better in a cleaner space
  • Engage in decreasing clutter and mess knowing that science says we do better in a cleaner space.

We avoid cleaning to:

  • Avoid the fear of making a mistake–throwing out something that you might need later and then worried about how you will berate yourself for it
  • Avoid the grief we might confront in ridding ourselves of the piles of children’s artwork or a favorite aunt’s dresser or your high school prom dress
  • Not face the uncomfortable feeling of doing work that is hard. Face it–cleaning of any kind involves getting your hands dirty. It just does.
  • Give in to the lethargy because of the fear of spending good energy on something that isn’t fun.

We are wired for connection–and we do better if we connect first with ourselves to understand the relationship we have with ourselves around cleaning. And then we can support each other by supporting each other in the hard work of decluttering.