Understanding Well-Being: Clearing Personal Space for Wellness
Hicks, Dawn Christina
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CitationHicks, Dawn Christina. 2020. Understanding Well-Being: Clearing Personal Space for Wellness. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractIncreasing distractions in everyday living diminish our attention and turn our focus away from the experiences that truly matter. Past research has offered mindfulness as an effective tool to mitigate the inundation of useless or harmful information. Anecdotal accounts also suggest that decluttering -- or the removal of physical distractions from living spaces – may also help individuals looking for improved well-being. Can decluttering provide improved overall happiness, calmness, and mental clarity in the same way as engaging in mindfulness? Does decluttering provide greater improvements in confidence, productivity and relationship happiness compared to mindfulness meditation? And does decluttering diminish the importance having material possessions and feelings of being overwhelmed by “stuff” compared to mindfulness meditation? To address these questions, adults living in the US were recruited to take part in an online longitudinal study. Participants were assigned to an intervention that either directed them to declutter or to meditate for a period of 14 days. A well-being scale was used to captured baseline and end of treatment functioning. A daily questionnaire for each intervention collected data on the progress of participants and prompted reminders for engagement. Although every effort was made to recruit a large sample of participants only six adult females completed the decluttering intervention; no participants completed the meditation intervention. The unexpectedly small number of study participants precluded formal data analysis. However, an informal inspection of participant responses on the well-being scale as well as a consideration of participant comments did suggest the potential of decluttering to provide some modest benefits. Future studies should explore this topic in more detail.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365612