How Your Living Environment Impacts your Health

The relationship between a person’s living environment and their health might seem an obvious one, but people tend to underestimate just how important this connection can be. Whether out of a lack of choice or simply being too busy in their day to day lives, the concept is often overlooked, filed firmly in an area marked for later attention.

With both physical and mental components being heavily influential in future health outcomes, understand and addressing both is consistently important.

Environmental Physical Aspects

Environmental threats for physical health can come from within and without the home, with all of these aspects being addressable in some way or another.

For those who live in a dense urban environment, the chief contributor is often the issue of smog. This pollution is formed through a combination of emissions that conglomerate under specific climate conditions. The most common contributors on this front come from cars, industrial plants, and industrial burning.

Living environment image 1 222
“Smog at night” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Neil k.

Combatting this issue can be problematic, as smog is often unpredictable. It can be achieved, however, if people are careful to check weather warnings and keep outside activity limited and gentle on days of high smog. If ongoing respiratory conditions are a concern, it could be worth considering a move to an area with better air quality. This may seem drastic, but concerns like asthma and eye irritation can severely ruin a person’s quality of life.

Inside the home, the most common problem is that of mold. Found most commonly in places of high humidity, certain types of mold such as Stachybotrys chartarum can be a considerable problem among the vulnerable, and can even cause developmental issues in children.

Fortunately, there are many ways to mitigate and treat a mold problem when it occurs, by following standards set by organizations such as the CDC.

Mental Contributors via the Environment

The relationship between environmental factors and mental health can be just as important, though it is often a much more difficult relationship to define.

Outside of the home, it is often the close environment that can have the most profound effect on a person’s mental health. Most often this takes the form of an environment devoid of nature or possible activities that can keep a persona mentally engaged or refreshed.

Living Environment image 2 00921
“City park” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Maria Eklind.

Fortunately, there are many cities whose governments developed plans to combat such issues. A chief example of this is Palm Jumeirah – a man-made island off the coast of Dubai that was custom-built to meet every requirement of its citizens. For instance, if you look at the City Walk area guide from Bayut, you can see that this neighborhood has been designed to cover areas such as beautiful parks, swimming pools, fitness centers, and children’s play areas, all of which can be significant contributors to better mental health.

Within the home, one of the best starting places can be found in simple tidying. As often sensitive creatures, our mental states are often highly influenced by the environments closest to us, whether we realize it or not. In this way, cleaning a house or apartment can directly free up mental resources for more important tasks.

In some cases, this can be taken a step further through redecoration or even remodeling. While this may not be possible with rentals, at least some degree of change should be feasible.

The Importance of Now

The more time is spent in an environment bad for our health, the more the damage will accumulate. This is true on both the mental and physical front, meaning that real change should be attempted as soon as it becomes feasible.

Environmental threats to our mental and physical states are hardly new developments, and they aren’t issues that can ever be removed completely. With some effort and planning, however, almost everyone could benefit in some manner, and on some level.

______________________________________________________

Articles readers may find interesting: