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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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        Lim Kairen

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        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

        Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

        If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

        1. Breathe

        The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

        • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
        • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
        • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

        Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

        2. Loosen up

        After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

        Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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        3. Chew slowly

        Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

        Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

        Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

        4. Let go

        Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

        The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

        It’s not. Promise.

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        Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

        Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

        21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

        5. Enjoy the journey

        Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

        Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

        6. Look at the big picture

        The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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        Will this matter to me…

        • Next week?
        • Next month?
        • Next year?
        • In 10 years?

        Hint: No, it won’t.

        I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

        Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

        7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

        You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

        Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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        8. Practice patience every day

        Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

        • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
        • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
        • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

        Final thoughts

        Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

        Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

        Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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