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Psychologists Explain How Boring Buildings Are Harmful To Our Mental Health

Psychologists Explain How Boring Buildings Are Harmful To Our Mental Health

If you live in a concrete jungle, chances are, you are depressed. The high standards required to live a metropolitan life can put a load of burden on you and then, coupled with a highly demanding job and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to stressville.

Studies conducted by psychologists have given fascinating results showing that humans are very much affected by the environment we engage with every day, so much so that it affects our mental health. Here are some explanations by psychologists to show us that boring buildings are indeed harmful to the human mind.

Cognitive Disengagement Or Just Bored

    It’s safe to say that nobody favors working in a boxy building with other boring buildings surrounding the area. In fact, an important study done by Ellard discovered that people who are subjected to a bland environment simply becomes bored.[1]

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    The study involved a small group of participants wearing sensors which recorded skin conductance. When participants felt emotionally excited, the sensors would then be able to tell the researchers.

    Ellard took these participants to two kinds of places in East Houston. The first place was a lifeless street with a boring building where Whole Foods was situated and the second place, a block away where restaurants thrived with an ocean of activity.

    True enough, participants were measured to be bored while at the Whole Foods building and recorded to be excited when taken a block east from it.

    Boredom Creates Stress

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      The feeling of being bored isn’t simply just seen as one of our pet peeves, it can deal more damage to our mental health than we think. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that after retirement; the tendency of us having dementia is higher. Why? Because boredom causes stress.

      Studies done by Psychologists Colleen Merrifield and James Danckert[2] tell us that small doses of boredom can cause stress. In their experiment, participants fitted with electrodes to measure their emotional responses were made to watch three kinds of videos; a sad video, an interesting video and a boring video.

      The results?

      Surprisingly, nothing increased heart rates and cortisol levels (the hormones produced when stress occurs) when the participants were watching the boring video. Can you imagine multiplying that moment by years and years of living in a boxy pigeon hole?

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      Boring Environments Cause Socially-Induced ADHD

        Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that can be developed in the young and the old. The telltale signs if one is suffering from it can be seen if he or she is always fidgeting, making rash decisions or having trouble multitasking.

        One of the main causes of this disorder is a nonstimulating, boring environment. A house without toys, art or constant stimuli of the senses is a recipe for disaster, or ADHD.

        Solution: The Feeling Of Awe

        People shouldn’t start moving to a place where there is a barrage of information to process every day like the Las Vegas Strip or Shinjuku to avoid having ADHD. In fact, it might be counter-productive if our environment becomes too saturated with information.

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        Instead, as suggested by a study done by psychologists,[3] the idea of a “thrill” introduced once in awhile in our lives can help to improve mental health. In the experiment, psychologists presented pictures and videos of awe-inspiring images, such as the Eiffel Tower, to participants. And what the psychologists found out was that the participants became more inclined to make their lives more meaningful and satisfying such as volunteering for a charity and choosing experiences over material possessions.

        What Do You Do To Stay Happy?

        By taking yourself out of the environment, of course! Taking a vacation to the beach or somewhere very different from your regular environment will keep you sane. And if you can’t change the building that you work in? Why not try having a digital picture frame that flashes pictures of loved ones and the favorite places you love to go when you’re not at work. Having a little thrill and novelty in life might prove to be a life-saving decision.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

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        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

        4. Feed Your Brain

        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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        6. Write it Down

        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

        7. Listen to Music

        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

        8. Visual Concepts

        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

        9. Teach Someone Else

        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

        More About Boosting Memory

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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