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Chronically Disorganized? Here’s How to Help your Brain Be More Orderly.

Do you misplace things around the house, forget to pay bills, or feel like you’re constantly surrounded by clutter? We all feel like this at times, but there’s a condition called chronic disorganization currently being studied that takes that feeling to a whole new level.

Photo credit: EvelynGiggles via Flickr

Chronically Disorganized vs. Situationally Disorganized

The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization is an organization that has been studying and treating people who have serious problems keeping their lives organized. Meanwhile, the Institute of Challenging Disorganization aims to provide education, research, and strategies to benefit people challenged by organization issues. Yet there is a significant difference between chronic disorganization and just feeling situationally or occasionally disorganized when you start a new phase of life or when work gets especially busy.

Chronic disorganization is defined by feeling disorganized for a very long time and on a daily basis, to the point where it affects a person’s quality of life. People who are chronically disorganized often make many attempts to get their lives together, but ultimately fail and feel discouraged. These cycles can lead to a lack of hope for the future and a worsening mental state over time.

Characteristics of Chronic Disorganization

People who are chronically disorganized often have a lot of material possessions that they don’t even want or need. They may have trouble getting rid of these items, which can lead to the more serious issue of hoarding. Chronically disorganized people often have a wide range of interests but have difficulty maintaining those interests for the long-term or finishing projects to completion. Having bad time management skills and being easily distracted are also characteristics of this condition.

Causes of Chronic Disorganization

There are many mental conditions that may cause a person to become chronically disorganized. These include ADHD, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you suffer from chronic pain, you might not have the capacity to get up and organize things around your house, or you might feel hopeless because you’ll never get anything done. However, chronic disorganization itself is not a disease. The good news is that it can be reversed and cured with the right support systems in place.

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Finding Help and Training Your Brain to be Organized

One of the best ways to start turning your life around and train your brain to be more organized is to track your habits by jotting down triggers and frustrations in a journal. You can also ask a loved one for help with seemingly simple tasks that can make a big difference, such as helping you get off junk mail lists so there is less paper cluttering up the house. Eating brain-healthy foods like fish, avocados, walnuts, and blueberries can also set your days up for success so that you can focus better on the tasks at hand and remember the things you need to do. Nutrition plays a big part in mental functioning, so don’t underestimate how important your daily meals are when you’re trying to get organized.

Also, think about ways in your life that you actually are organized, such as in your job or perhaps how you keep track of music and apps on your phone. But if you aren’t able to personally apply these successes to other more challenged parts of your life, it might be time to call a professional organizer, life coach, or counselor for help. There’s no shame in asking for help to get steered in the right direction and feel more comfortable in the space you live in every day.

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