Is the constant house cleaning a sign of anxiety? Well, the simple answer to that would be; it depends on a lot of factors, including the person and the house.
While a clean house is a pretty great thing to have, the truth is it is rare that you will actually have to keep cleaning your home constantly unless something is up. Normally, if, for some reason, your home is constantly dirty, it would make more sense to find the cause of the dirt and stop it instead of cleaning the house constantly. Various Psychiatrists have revealed that constant cleaning is often associated with an underlying issue. That is, constant cleaning might be as a result of the internal stress or tension you are currently dealing with. A lot of people find cleaning relaxing; hence they turn to cleaning whenever they have an issue to deal with.
Constant cleaning could be caused by Anxiety, a compulsive disorder such as mysophobia (also known as germophobia), or another thing entirely. A lot of factors can be associated with this, and if you want an accurate answer, it would be better to get info on the house and the person cleaning it.
Some questions to ask to get an accurate reading of the causes of constant cleaning include;
However, while anxiety is not the only cause of constant cleaning, a recent study has shown that anxiety can also cause obsessive cleaning. This study by Current Biology was able to find a connection between temporary anxiety and constant cleaning.
The research was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Connecticut led by Martin Lang. The research commenced with 62 students from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic as the subjects of this research; both males and females were included with an average age of just under 24 years.
Once the subjects arrived at the research center, they were attached to accelerometers and heart-rate monitors on each hand, and then, they were made to sit at a table with a small metal statue on it.
The next step involved informing half of the subjects that they would be required to deliver a 5 minutes presentation about the statue to an art expert. They were told that their presentation would include answers to a number of questions (7 in total), which included, “What art genre does this object belong to?” and “How old do you think the object is?”.
Once the subjects had grasp the full scope of the questions they were supposed to answer, it was revealed that they only had 3 minutes to prepare for their presentation. This particular method was chosen because glossophobia( the fair of public speaking) is one of the most common phobias in the world.
Next, the other half of the subjects were told to study the statue and the number of questions but were told there was no need for presentation or any other form of public speaking.
Then, all the subjects were told to polish the statue with a piece of wet cloth until they were satisfied with its clean state. After this, the first half was told there was no more need for a presentation. Then both halves were told to fill a questionnaire.
Normally, the half that was told to prepare for a presentation revealed they were very anxious, and this was confirmed by their heart-rate monitors, which shows their pulse quickening. Their accelerometers also revealed that they engaged in more repetitive and predictable motions while cleaning the statue.
The research leader commented that “On the whole,” “anxious people focused on smaller areas of the object and cleaned them more meticulously.” This research showed that when going through some stressful situations that make them anxious, humans like to engage in repetitive actions such as cleaning because it provides a sense of control over a situation that may seem ambiguous.