Picture this. You are laying in a hammock on a beach with a book in hand. The breeze brings the scent of the ocean, and all you can hear are the waves crashing on the shore. You are swaying in your hammock, without a care in the world.
Now, picture this scenario. You have the same book in hand, but instead of laying in a hammock you are sitting on the bus. The bus is loud as it screeches to a halt for those at each stop, and there is a baby crying a few seats away. There is a couple fighting on the other side of the bus as you reread the same sentence you have tried to read for the past ten minutes.
In both scenarios, you are trying to read a book. Which environment do you think made it easier to read?
I don’t even have to ask to know what you are thinking. It’s a no-brainer that the calming beach scene was a much better place to read.
The first environment gave you a place to relax and focus, while the second environment was more stressful and polluted with distractions and negativity.
While this is obvious to point out when given these drastic examples, it isn’t always as obvious to point out how the environment we live in affects us.
So, how does our environment affect us?
When we talk about our environment I don’t mean the climate or the nature around you (although it can be a factor). I mean your personal environment.
This consists of what you interact with from day to day. Your physical and social surroundings, the people in your life, the pressures put on you from work, school, or family. Everything what we see, smell, taste, touch, etc.
Different types of surroundings can really affect your mental health and overall life satisfaction, and the environment we subject ourselves to can help determine the types of decisions we make.
We are faced with hundreds if not thousands of decisions each day. Some of the decisions we make are positive when we do things that benefit us or others, while some are negative when we give in to things we know we probably shouldn't do.
These decisions are completely ours to make, but environmental cues also have a role to play in them.
Environmental cues are the objects in our surroundings that trigger certain thoughts and desires, causing us to behave in certain ways.
What’s around us highly influences our decisions, just think about it.
While scrolling on social media you find a link to an interesting video/article and you become curious and click on it.
You are trying to eat less dairy but your friends bring over pizza to eat when you hang out.
You eat dinner with wide dinner plates, so you tend to eat more food than you would if you were using a smaller plate.
You may have had good intentions, but the things around you influenced you otherwise.
We look around ourselves at other people, objects, and the way our environment is set up to determine how we should act. You can see now the importance of what we surround ourselves with.
Do we have control over our environment?
Some of us may not have much control over our environment. But even with little control there are still things we can do to have a positive environment.
The people in your life
For the most part, we can choose the people we have in our lives.
We choose the friends we decide to surround ourselves in. We choose the type of people we interact with and the places we go for fun or to enjoy our hobbies.
If we are surrounded by people who encourage us and love us, then we will most likely feel loved and supported.
On the other side of that, if we are surrounded by people who are violent, or who don’t care about us, then that will hurt us and damage us.
You become like the 4 or 5 people you surround yourself with, make sure you choose those people wisely!
Your living environment
There are many aspects to where you live that can affect you.
Living in the city vs. the country. Having a big backyard and spacious house vs. living in an apartment. Having a tidy living space vs. a messy living space. Living alone vs. living with others.
All of these are choices you make that can help you have a better headspace and be more motivated.
For me, when my apartment is messy I know it definitely affects the choices I make. I am way more likely to procrastinate, and way less likely to have friends over/socialize. If my apartment is tidy I am much more efficient and social.
You can’t always change where you live, but you can always change the atmosphere of your living environment.
What does your environment look like?
So, now is the time to ask yourself - what does your living environment look like?
Are you in a good environment mentally and physically?
Do you need to change what is around you for the better?
If you’ve realized that you need to change your environment, don’t wait! A better tomorrow is sometimes just a few changes away!