Maintaining positive mental and physical health plays a major role in living a happy and healthy life. However, while our physical environment plays an equally important role in this achievement, it is often a forgotten part of the conversation.
Many factors in our personal environment directly impact our health and well-being. Creating the right environment can be an important part of changing lives positively.
Therefore, it is important to be able to identify a positive or negative environment. A good way to start is by attempting to eliminate bad habits.
A common bad habit found in children, teens and young adults is bad posture. An article by the National Institutes of Health says that “prolonged smartphone usage causes faulty posture, such as forward neck posture, slouched posture, or rounded shoulders. Sustained forward neck posture can cause injury to the structure of the cervical and lumbar spine, as well as ligaments.”
This is preventable by ensuring your seating area is properly set up and includes a chair with proper back support and comfort. Doing so will also encourage productivity, as you won’t be focused on physical pains caused by posture.
Although having proper seating is a top priority, we must also remind ourselves to take standing breaks. Sitting all day is unhealthy for anyone, regardless of their chair’s quality and comfort. Occasionally getting up for a few minutes is a must.
Virinder Kasbia, a chiropractor in Ottawa, Ont., says we also need to prioritize our comfort when sleeping.
“Make sure you have a good mattress,” says Kasbia. “So many of us have aches and pains these days, so getting the proper support while you’re sleeping is just as important as when we sit at a desk.”
Kasbia says the easiest and most important factor in determining if your mattress is right for you is based on if you feel discomfort. Everyone has different preferences, so it’s important to make sure we are comfortable in order to get a good sleep.
Additionally, making sure the places you spend most of your time make you feel good is extremely important as it can impact almost every aspect of your life.
According to an article by the Stanford Daily, “The nature of the space you are in greatly affects your mood and can even affect how you feel physically.” Things like noise levels, who is around you and lighting can all change how you act each day.
The Green Business Certification Inc. reports that improper lighting “can cause visual discomfort resulting in issues like eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches.”
Although what’s best for you and your environment ultimately depends on what makes you comfortable, it is important to know all the possible factors.
Melanie Dubois, a social work student at Carleton University, says one of the most important ways to create a healthy personal environment is to find balance.
“Don’t overwork,” says Dubois. “It can be hard for some people to make time for themselves. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
An article by Veteran Affairs says three to five minutes is “often recommended for shorter breaks. Longer breaks have been found to be helpful if they are at least 10-15 minutes long.”
Taking a break allows us to be more productive when we return to our work. Taking a short walk can help clear your head and even give you new ideas in the process.
Furthermore, Dubois says one of the best or worst factors is the people we surround ourselves with.
“Finding people you can trust is very important. Mental health fluctuates day by day, but having the right support group will make you productive and happy.”
Having the wrong people around you can cause more problems than we may realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “When people are socially connected and have stable and supportive relationships, they are more likely to make healthy choices and to have better mental and physical health outcomes. They are also better able to cope with hard times, stress, anxiety and depression.”
Take some time to consider what you can do to create a positive physical environment for yourself.