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Who Knew? 7 Unexpected Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning

This season, “cleaning” is about more than just tidying up your house.

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It’s a proven de-stresser

More clutter means more stress. So it shouldn’t be surprising that housework can cut stress and anxiety by 20 per cent, according to a Scottish Health Survey. However, you do need 20 minutes of activity to get these effects. Using lemon-scented cleaning products can help you de-stress faster; studies show this happy smell reduces stress and leaves a positive impression on others. (PS: You can clean your house with a lemon instead of chemicals.)

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It helps you breathe better

If you’re prone to allergies or asthma attacks when spring rolls around, don’t assume pollen is the only culprit. Dust and pet dander are powerful asthma triggers, especially in children, says Jennifer McDonnell, MD, of Rush University Medical Center. With the right dusting strategies and vacuum cleaner tricks, your airways will open up in no time.

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It improves your mood

A thorough house cleaning—and then keeping it that way—is one mood boost you’ll definitely want to make a habit. In a study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women who described their homes as stressful, in particular talking about clutter and unfinished projects, were more likely to have an increasingly depressed mood throughout the day. That, in turn, led to more fatigue after work. On the flip side, women who described their homes as relaxing (and less cluttered) became less depressed as the day went on.

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It gets you active without realizing it

Indiana University researchers made a surprising discovery about the correlation between physical activity and cleanliness: The cleaner the participants’ homes were, the more exercise they got. Simply burning calories while cleaning is one explanation for the find, but this relationship could be connected to self-regulation, the ability to act in a way that drives you toward your goals. If individuals were motivated to take control of how clean their homes were, they may be able to use that drive in another area of their lives, like physical fitness.

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It can make you more productive at work

Spring cleaning your office is just as important as tidying up your house, especially if the papers and folders cluttering your desk hinder your ability to work. A whopping 77 per cent of working Americans surveyed by OfficeMax agreed that clutter damages their productivity at work. Adding “Clean desk” as a calendar appointment can help hold you accountable, but why not start now?

Check out these five ways to prevent busyness from ruining your life.

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It drifts you off to sleep

Can’t sleep? Don’t reach right for the sleeping pills and try tidying up your bedroom. People who make their beds daily are 19 percent more likely to consistently sleep well, according to the National Sleep Foundation. A survey from the organization also found that 75 per cent of respondents slept better on clean sheets because they were more comfortable. Who knew doing laundry had such added perks? You should also consider “cleaning” your sleep habits.

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It influences a healthy diet

As long as we’re talking about other ways to spring clean our lives, let’s talk about our diets. The idea of “clean eating” has been circulating for a while, but did you know a clean home could help you eat cleaner—or at least healthier? Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that individuals placed in a clean, orderly room were more likely to choose healthier snack options than those in a disorderly room.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest