Environmental Factors That Can Affect Your Mood

Environmental Factors That Can Affect Your Mood

By Aurora McCausland

It’s probably no secret to you that the things around you in your everyday life affect your mood. But they might be affecting your mood even more than you think! For example, imagine you’re sitting in the waiting room to go into the dentist. Many of us experience anxiety before and during a dentist appointment. Just sitting in the waiting room can cause heightened anxiety. It can even cause nausea and headaches. Physical symptoms can be caused just by the environment you are in. Here are a few other things in your daily life that may be causing a detrimental affect on your mood. 


We all know that stress causes a myriad of other physical symptoms. If you’ve ever been so stressed out that you vomited, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Stress is definitely not something to ignore! It’s much easier said than done, though. We get that. Stress seems to worsen every single physical symptom that you are experiencing. The following are environmental factors that could be causing stress and therefore, inadvertently affecting your mood without you realizing it. 

Uncomfortable textures

Have you ever put on a scratchy wool sweater, and spent the entire day uncomfortable and irritable, counting down the minutes until you can get home and make an outfit change? Texture is increasingly more important if you are someone who is sensitive to texture. A lot of people have a lower tolerance to textures than they realize. 

Not spending enough time outside

Being in nature can instantly reduce stress. Have you ever had to take a step outside to take a breath of fresh air to recenter yourself before continuing on with your day? There is a reason why asking your screaming toddler, mid-tantrum, if they want to go outside, will almost always calm them down. There’s something about being outside and connecting with nature that immediately lowers your stress levels. Think back, when was the last time you spent a significant amount of time outside? Or even just a few minutes, besides the time it takes to get from your car in the parking lot to your office. Make an effort to spend just a few more minutes outside every day. 


Scent has a huge effect on your mood! Foul smells put us in a bad mood, while familiar and yummy scents make us feel calm and at peace. If you find yourself constantly wrinkling your nose in distaste throughout the day, bring a candle, air freshener, or hand lotion with you to help you control the smells of the world around you. 


If you are an introvert, spending too much time around people will add heightened stress to your days. The opposite is true for extroverts, they need socialization in order to thrive! However, even introverts need to have social contact every day in order to be in a healthy mental state. And mingling with your coworkers might not always be the solution to this. 


Harsh lights tend to cause headaches, while dim or inadequate lights can do the exact same thing. Not getting enough sunlight is a common cause of depressive feelings, which is why seasonal depression is such a prominent problem in areas that don’t see a lot of sun in the winter months. 


The sounds around us are huge factors of your overall mood. The music you listen to, the screams of neighbor children, the sound of nails clicking on a keyboard, are all sounds that can affect your stress levels and mood. If there are sounds in your environment that are grating on you, find a way to introduce more calming sounds into your space. Listen to calming music, ASMR, or even just soothing white noise.