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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 July 10, 2020

        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

        How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

        We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

        We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

        So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

        Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

        What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

        Boundaries are limits

        —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

        Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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        Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

        Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

        Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

        How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

        Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

        1. Self-Awareness Comes First

        Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

        You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

        To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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        You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

        • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
        • When do you feel disrespected?
        • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
        • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
        • When do you want to be alone?
        • How much space do you need?

        You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

        2. Clear Communication Is Essential

        Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

        Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

        3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

        Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

        That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

        Sample language:

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        • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
        • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
        • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
        • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
        • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
        • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
        • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

        Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

        4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

        Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

        Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

        Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

        We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

        It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

        It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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        Final Thoughts

        Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

        Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

        Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

        The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

        Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

        Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

        They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

        Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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