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Is cleaning up really good for your mind and body? We asked an expert.

Is cleaning up really good for your mind and body? We asked an expert.

Was your New Year's Resolution to clean up and finally get your home organized?

If it was, you're not alone.

Since the start of the year, cities all over the country are reporting more clothing donations than usual. And, of course, it seems like everyone is obsessed with the show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" and showing off their new home organization projects on social media.

So whether you were inspired by a TV show, the millionth fight with your partner over dirty dishes, or simply a walk past the Container Store, it's always a good time to clean up and organize your space.

“There is a pleasure in imagining that this thing — being organized and clean — is a task that can be done," explains Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of Psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine. “Once done, things would look nice and be less cluttered and you'd know where everything is. It's sort of like imagining how good you'd feel after you do a spin class or a run."

And that's part of the reason, she adds, why so many people are inspired right now by Kondo's Netflix show: it gives them the tools to plan out how they can get something done, and help them feel like their goals are, indeed, attainable.

The good news is that setting a goal like this — and working to achieve it — can have a lot of positive effects on your life and your health, as long as you tackle it in a manageable way. Here are just 7 of those benefits:

1. Cleaning up can alleviate stress.

A 2009 UCLA study found a correlation between women's stress levels and untidy homes. Women who described their homes as untidy, messy, cluttered or unfinished had higher levels of cortisol — the body's main stress hormone — than those that described their homes as “tidy" or “restorative." They also had increased feelings of depression during the day.

This suggests that living in a cleaner, more organized space has a relaxing effect which can, in turn, lower your stress. On a slightly different note, according to MarketWatch, Americans spend about 55 minutes a day looking for stuff they own but can't find — which is stressful and disheartening in a totally different way. Not only that, but sometimes mess can simply be overwhelming, leaving you feeling defeated and depressed.

2. It can also improve your relationships.

“For many people the issue of how clean and how organized to be is a real source of relationship stress," says Dr. Saltz. This is especially true in couples. One half of the couple might really like things organized and obsessively clean. The other might think it's no big deal if the dirty clothes pile up or if the house goes a week or two between vacuums.

“This can be a source of arguing, disagreement and upset that takes a lot of emotional space up," she explains. That's why it's often important for couples to learn to compromise and agree on a certain standard of tidy for their shared space.

“Having a relatively clean and organized space is probably better for a couple's wellbeing. I mean, unless you happen to have found your soulmate in filth," she adds, with a laugh.

3. You're more likely to socialize if you keep your space tidy.

Almost half of Americans say that if their house feels cluttered, they won't invite people over. But not socializing in your space can have a tremendous impact on your friendships and your well-being, making you feel isolated and increasing your chances of depression or poor mental health.So get out those Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and start planning that potluck you've been meaning to! Your mind will thank you for it.

4. Cleaning up can boost your creativity and productivity.

Clutter and dirt can have a negative impact on your ability to focus or process information, according to a Princeton Study. This can make you feel distracted and stressed out, inhibiting your ability to get things done — which is bad at home and at work.

If you take the time to clean up your desk and your home, it can help you be more efficient. “One's productivity and creativity might be increased once one has completed organization — mostly because mentally, that distraction has been taken off the table," explains Dr. Saltz. “It frees up more space to be productive and creative."

5. It might also help you financially.

If you can't find something in a messy house, but you really need it, you're likely to give up looking for it and just buy a new one. This can waste your money, according to MarketWatch — and it won't help your clutter problem either.

Extra stuff can also get expensive if you aren't willing to let it go. More than 10 percent of American households rent storage spaces to hold their extra belongings — and they can spend as much as $1,000 a year on that facility. It should come as no surprise that the sale of home storage products, such as plastic boxes, has become a $10.5 billion business.

6. You might eat healthier.

A study in the journal Psychological Sciencesuggests that people in orderly environments can show a preference for healthier snacks. That's something that can benefit every one of us!

7. A clean bed could help you sleep better.

According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, people who make their beds every morning are 19 percent more likely to report getting a good night's sleep.

Not only that, but that same survey found that 73% of people said that they got a better night's rest if their sheets and bedding were clean. It simply made them feel more comfortable — helping them nod off at night. So if you've been sleeping in the same sheets for over a week, it might be a good idea to take a trip to Laundry Town.

Before you embark on your cleaning adventure, though, there are two important things to remember:

First, not everyone has the same definition of “clean" or “tidy."

“There can be a lot of variability between one person's 'this is acceptable' and another person's 'are you kidding me?" says Dr. Saltz. “I don't think there is a uniform [standard] that everyone aspires to."

In other words, maybe you're the kind of person who finds that keeping a minimalist home is very relaxing. But someone else might find that same minimalist space depressing and too sparse. It's okay to want a bookshelf chock full of books or a lot of sentimental things around you. The key is to find the level of tidy and organized that makes you happy.

As long as your space or clutter doesn't interfere with your ability to function — i.e. you can never find things, you don't want people over, it's affecting your relationships or your job, etc. — then it's okay to decide what organized looks like for you.

Second, don't overwhelm yourself in the process of trying to better your space.

“Usually when you tell someone that they need a major life overhaul, it doesn't work — sort of like the New Year's resolution to lose 50 pounds. It's probably not going to happen," Dr. Saltz explains. “You have to break things into bite-sized chunks so that it feels manageable and not overwhelming or anxiety-producing."

“If it feels anxiety-producing, most people won't even embark on a project at all," she continues. “So start one closet at a time and feel good about what you accomplish. That's more likely to work for you in the long run."

If you stress yourself out trying to achieve the impossible overnight, you're never going to experience the benefits that cleaning up can have on your health, defeating the point of your newest New Year's resolution in the first place.

Clorox believes clean has the power to transforms lives, which is why they've partnered with Upworthy to promote those same traits in people, actions and ideas. Cleaning up and transformation are important aspects of many of our social good stories. Check out the rest in the campaign to read more.

Health

Dentist explains the 3 times you should never brush your teeth

Sometimes not brushing your teeth is the best way to protect them.

Representative Image from Canva

Add this to the list of things you didn't learn in health class.

For those who love the oh-so fresh feeling of immediately running to brush their teeth after a meal, we got some bad news.

London-based dental surgeon and facial aesthetics practitioner Dr. Shaadi Manouchehri recently shocked around 12 million viewers on TikTok after sharing the three occasions when you should “never” be scrubbing those pearly whites—if you want to actually protect your teeth, that is.

The hardest part about this video, which some viewers are undoubtedly still processing, is that each of these no-no times is exactly when brushing your teeth is the only thing you’ll want to do. So much for instincts.


Number one on Manouchehri’s list, which caused the most controversy in the comments, isright after vomiting. Yep, you read that right.

“This is because the contents of the stomach are extremely acidic and the mouth is already in a very acidic state so if you brush straight after [vomiting] you’re basically wearing away your enamel,” Manouchehri explained.

Of course, commenters weren’t willing to let this one go without a fight. One viewer wrote, “I would rather lose all of my teeth than not brush after vomiting.”

Manouchehri also says to avoid brushing your teeth directly after eating breakfast. This is because “when you’ve just eaten, the mouth is, again in a “very acidic state,” so if you’re brushing your teeth you’re rubbing that acid on the tooth, which wears down the enamel.” Other sources have also confirmed that brushing your teeth tight after any meal isn’t really recommended.

This goes double for right after sweets. Manouchehri says to wait a full 60 minutes before putting a toothbrush anywhere near your mouth after having something sugary. Because…you guessed it…acid.

Does this advice seem counterintuitive? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

@drshaadimanouchehri #dentist #dentistry #dentaladvice #learnontiktok #funfacts #londondentist #dentalcleaning #teethbrushing #teethbrushingmadeeasy #teethbrushingtips #londondentistry #marylebonedentist #fypシ ♬ original sound - Dr Shaadi Manouchehri

“Ah, yes, the three times I want to brush my teeth more than any other time,” one person joked.

Luckily, there are few alternatives to try if you want that good, clean mouth feeling but don’t want to compromise your enamel—the simplest being to either rinse with or drink water. You can also use sugar-free chewing gum or conclude your meal with dairy or non-acidic foods, according to Advanced Dental Associates. If you still crave a little more of a hygiene bang, you can opt for a mouthwash with fluoride and using a tongue cleaner, which removes excess acid, per Curetoday.com.

Guess there’s a time and a place for everything, even when it comes to dental hygiene.

Representative Image from Canva

There's no way they didn't understand what she was saying.

Okay, so maybe dogs don’t understand everything we tell them exactly as a human would. But is that gonna stop us from having full blown conversations with them? Of course not. And the times they do seem to comprehend what’s being communicated—pure comedy.

Take this dog mom’s hilarious pre-grooming pep talk with Shih-Tzus Branston, Pickle and Gizmo. She minced no words telling them exactly how this trip was gonna go. And the message seemed to be received.

Branston (the troublemaker, apparently) got a firm warning of what not to do, including telling white lies about his upbringing.

“I don’t need you running in telling the first dog you see that this is what this is what your hair used to look like when you lived in the Bronx running up and down the block, cause I know for a fact, Branston, that you live in a rural village,” she tells him.

Viewers, however, seemed on board with Branston’s Bronx-affiliation, even if it was a little white lie. One person joked, “don’t be mad at the treats that I got, I’m still Branny from the block.”

In the video, Branston is also instructed to not tell everyone that he “identifies as a BUll Mastiff,” which gets the most adorable look of disappointment for wee little Branston.

As for Gizmo and Pickle—mom’s best advice is to pretend like they don’t know Branston.

Perhaps the best part is mom’s British accent, which makes the entire clip feel like something pulled straight outta “Ted Lasso.” That, or the complete shock the Shih-tzu trio has at being informed of their weight class.

Watch:

@branstonandpickle01 Your NOT from the Bronx and you never ran up and down the block!! #dogsoftiktok #peptalktoyourdog #branstonwehavearrived #shihtzusoftiktok #peptalkbranston #funnydogvideos #funnyvideos #nyc #bronx #funny #dogs #dogtok ♬ original sound - Branston,Pickle&Gizmo

Perhaps Branston, Pickle, and Gizmo’s mom isn’t totally off-base by giving them a talking to. According to the website allshihtzu.com, this breed had a “unique intelligence,” which gets best demonstrated by their attuned, empathic connection to their human families. Meaning that while they might not have the same kind of smarts as border collies or other herding dogs, their super power is picking up social cues.

And, again, even if they had no earthly idea what their mom was saying, odds are she’d still be talking to them anyway. Why? Because pets are our babies. And baby talk is fun.jk

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.


The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.

The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.

The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.

The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.

The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.

They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.

“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”

They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.

The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.

american kennel club, french bulldog, most popular dog

An adorable French Bulldog

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.

Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.

Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.

1 French Bulldogs

2 Labrador Retrievers

3 Golden Retrievers

4 German Shepherd Dogs

5 Poodles

6 Bulldogs

7 Rottweilers

8 Beagles

9 Dachshunds

10 German Shorthaired Pointers


This article originally appeared on 03.17.23

What is Depression?

In the United States, close to 10% of the population has depression, but sometimes it can take a long time for someone to even understand that they have it.

One difficulty in diagnosis is trying to distinguish between feeling down and experiencing clinical depression. This TED-Ed video from December 2015 can help make the distinction. With simple animation, the video explains how clinical depression lasts longer than two weeks with a range of symptoms that can include changes in appetite, poor concentration, restlessness, sleep disorders (either too much or too little), and suicidal ideation. The video briefly discusses the neuroscience behind the illness, outlines treatments, and offers advice on how you can help a friend or loved one who may have depression.


Unlike the many pharmaceutical ads out there with their cute mascots and vague symptoms, the video uses animation to provide clarity about the mental disorder. It's similar in its poignant simplicity to the HBO short documentary "My Depression," based on Liz Swados' book of the same name.


This article originally appeared on 08.17.19

New baby and a happy dad.


When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was about to have her second child, she was both excited and nervous.

Sure, those are the feelings most moms-to-be experience before giving birth, but Lisa's nerves were tied to something different.

She and her husband already had a 9-year-old son but desperately wanted another baby. They spent years trying to get pregnant again, but after countless failed attempts and two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying.


Of course, that's when Lisa ended up becoming pregnant with her daughter, Anora. Since it was such a miraculous pregnancy, Lisa wanted to do something special to commemorate her daughter's birth.

So she turned to her craft — photography — as a way to both commemorate the special day, and keep herself calm and focused throughout the birthing process.

Normally, Lisa takes portraits and does wedding photography, so she knew the logistics of being her own birth photographer would be a somewhat precarious new adventure — to say the least.

pregnancy, hospital, giving birth, POV

She initially suggested the idea to her husband Alec as a joke.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"After some thought," she says, "I figured I would try it out and that it could capture some amazing memories for us and our daughter."

In the end, she says, Alec was supportive and thought it would be great if she could pull it off. Her doctors and nurses were all for Lisa taking pictures, too, especially because it really seemed to help her manage the pain and stress.

In the hospital, she realized it was a lot harder to hold her camera steady than she initially thought it would be.

tocodynamometer, labor, selfies

She had labor shakes but would periodically take pictures between contractions.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Eventually when it was time to push and I was able to take the photos as I was pushing, I focused on my daughter and my husband and not so much the camera," she says.

"I didn't know if I was in focus or capturing everything but it was amazing to do.”

The shots she ended up getting speak for themselves:

nurse, strangers, medical care,

Warm and encouraging smiles from the nurse.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

experiment, images, capture, document, record

Newborn Anora's first experience with breastfeeding.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Everybody was supportive and kind of surprised that I was able to capture things throughout. I even remember laughing along with them at one point as I was pushing," Lisa recalled.

In the end, Lisa was so glad she went through with her experiment. She got incredible pictures — and it actually did make her labor easier.

Would she recommend every mom-to-be document their birth in this way? Absolutely not. What works for one person may not work at all for another.

However, if you do have a hobby that relaxes you, figuring out how to incorporate it into one of the most stressful moments in your life is a pretty good way to keep yourself calm and focused.

Expecting and love the idea of documenting your own birthing process?

Take some advice from Lisa: "Don't put pressure on yourself to get 'the shot'" she says, "and enjoy the moment as much as you can.”

Lisa's mom took this last one.

grandma, hobby, birthing process

Mom and daughter earned the rest.

Photo via Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

This article originally appeared on 06.30.16