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Image / Editorial

Messy People Are Happier People Says Science

by Niamh ODonoghue
02nd Feb 2017

The saying goes that a tidy space promotes a tidy mind, but new research may have turned that colloquialism on its head. It’s now thought that those of us who are a bit messier in life, are considered to be happier.?

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?

We’ve got some good morning news if you’re a self-confessed messy person. A while back we toyed with the idea that the messy people among us are more creative. Now, science has gone one-step further and proved that those who flourish in messy environments are considered to be happier in life.

Titled the “filers and pilers” study, researchers?Steve Whittaker and Julia Hirschberg?studied the behaviour?of those who meticulously file away paperwork or keep an organised workspace (“filers”), and those who let clutter to pile on their desk (you guessed it: “pilers”).

To the researcher’s surprise, it seems that by being overly organised, the “filers” were simply gathering clutter that they were then unable to part with, and one participant even compared the process choosing paperwork to shred to ?casting off your first-born.?

The result??Whittaker and?Hirschberg were able to determine that even though their organised participants were neat and tidy, they spent so much time on filing and organising that they developed a sentimental?feeling for otherwise meaningless pieces of paper.

Meanwhile, the “pilers” flourished. Unlike the neat and tidy folks above, the messy group were able to throw away paper willingly and if they did something, they were “more likely to understand it” and were far more practical in their approach (despite messy appearances). This study?further identifies messy peoples’ positive traits like generosity and the ability to make healthier choices.

But maybe the messy life just isn’t for you. Don’t worry, though, as being organised and can help to boost energy levels and even improve your sleeping pattern.

you are a messy desk owner I wouldn’t worry too much – if Alexander Fleming hadn’t been disgusting and mould hadn’t grown in a petri dish in his laboratory, he wouldn’t have discovered penicillin and we wouldn’t have antibiotics.

So, are you a?filer or a piler?

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