How Does the Environment Affect Our Psychological Well-Being?

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Psychological Well-Being
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Human beings are social creatures that constantly interact with their surroundings. Since these interactions form the basis of human functionality, it implies that one’s good or bad functioning is attributable to its environment. Environmental factors influence both physical and mental aspects of our well-being. The effects of the environment on our physical health are easily traceable and understandable. However, the impacts on psychological well-being are not that easy to identify or determine.

Interestingly, almost everything around you has a significant effect on your mental health. From the chair in your room with a pile of clothes to your office desk with stacks of papers on it, everything plays a substantial role in governing your peace of mind. Being aware of these factors enables you to make the necessary changes in your surroundings. These few adjustments can help you instantly feel better. 

Environmental factors affecting our mental health fall into two categories:

  • Social factors
  • Physical factors

Let’s discuss the influence of social and physical factors on our psychological well-being:

Social factors

Work environment

Adults spend most of the productive part of their day at the workplace. A healthy work environment with supportive managers and cooperative colleagues reduces the stress of going to work each day. In comparison, workplaces that promote and reinforce unhealthy competition only demoralize their employees. Similarly, powerplay and politics in an organization further add to a hostile environment. Such corporate cultures restrict employees from communicating their concerns and putting forth their creative ideas. Stressful workplace conditions like these negatively affect our mental health and can even lead to various health issues. 

Fortunately, organizations these days have realized how corporate environments affect their employees’ workplace productivity and efficiency. They are willingly working towards eliminating workplace stressors and promoting a healthy culture. Most of them are even hiring experts who can assist them in devising friendly workplace policies and programs. Among these experts, individuals possessing MAPP degree credentials are most sought after, given their high-level understanding of organizational psychology. 

Socioeconomic system

The socioeconomic system is a significant factor that influences an individual’s mental health. It refers to the way social and economic aspects affect people in local communities and within their households. Lack of financial stability is a known stressor. The constant worry of making ends meet leads to frustration and anxious behavior. Moreover, restricted access to the fundamental necessities of life results in prolonged stress, especially among adults. Such an environment suppresses the potential capabilities of an individual. 

Likewise, children belonging to financially unstable households develop an inferiority complex and lack confidence due to social discrimination. Their ability to cope with stressors gets compromised, turning them into adults who battle mental issues without realizing it.

Households

Close family relations serve as an essential pillar for the emotional support of human beings. Everyone goes through ups and downs in life. Having friends and family around makes it easier to pass through hard times. In contrast, living with a dysfunctional family has negative consequences for each member. Research done by NCBI has shown that living alone or being away from intimate relations causes loneliness. It leads to various psychological disorders like depression and personality disorders. On the contrary, a healthy social bond promises sound mental health. Therefore, one must keep in contact with their well-wishers to avoid having a mental breakdown.

Community

Living in a reliable and safe community is a significant determinant of how secure we feel in our environment. In contrast, an unsafe neighborhood presents a continuous fear that prevents us from leading a healthy and fulfilling life. It takes away the independence and freedom of walking carelessly around town. From street crimes to mugging, the unsafe surroundings harm our mental health severely. Most of the time, such encounters even cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among people. Thus, living in a safe community ensures your security while providing you peace of mind.

Physical factors 

Living space

The humble abode you reside in significantly influences your psychological well-being without you being aware of it. A shabby house can frustrate its occupants, further demotivating them from being productive. Likewise, cluttered surroundings with your belongings scattered everywhere keep your mind in a constant stressed state. To avoid these stressors, you need to change a few things. 

  • Declutter your house or your room
  • Add good light sources around the house
  • Allow sunlight to enter the house
  • Use bright colors to paint the walls
  • Keep your things organized

Weather

Extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall or heat waves can lead to stress among people of all ages. It takes a toll on your mind when getting out of the house becomes an impossible task. Heavy rainfalls, tornadoes, hurricanes cause damage on a grand scale. From the loss of homes to the death of loved ones, one goes through enough mental trauma due to climate change. Research proves the association of PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks with the victims of such natural disasters.  

Pollution

The industrialization of residential areas has increased environmental pollution, which is a significant concern for nations worldwide. Children growing in polluted areas will eventually develop physical conditions that will also worsen their mental state. Furthermore, adults living in regions with smog become agitated over time as they cannot lead an everyday life. And that’s because pollution at such a large scale becomes an obstacle in carrying out even minor tasks. 

Conclusion

Environmental factors affect psychological well-being in a diverse, interconnected way. From social factors to physical ones, humans are subjected to various stress triggers within their immediate environment. Hostile work cultures, dysfunctional households, and financially unstable conditions can all adversely affect our mental well-being. Likewise, cluttered living spaces, extreme climatic regions, and highly polluted areas can also pose a severe threat to our physical and psychological well-being. Nonetheless, being aware of all these factors can help us in devising workable strategies and solutions.