How clean your immediate surroundings are could be impacting your mood

Need to increase your productivity? According to new research, half (50%) of Americans believe they get more accomplished when facing a totally blank wall in their home.

Out of 2,000 people polled in a recent survey, 39% said their emotions and mood are markedly impacted by their immediate surroundings, with 25% claiming their environment can “completely” change how they feel.

Alongside those who need to face a blank wall, 53% said they can’t listen to lyrics or spoken-word sounds like podcasts while working — and if something in the room is out of place, over three in five (66%) can’t think about anything else until it’s fixed.

Top-cited mood influencers included how clean or tidy it is (52%), how it smells (52%) and what temperature it is in the room (49%).

As reported by OnePoll on behalf of Aera, the results also revealed that 78% use a specific routine or space in their home to feel more relaxed, including 84% of boomers (aged 57+) compared to 67% of millennials (ages 25–40).

Seventy-five percent said they need to feel “cozy” in order to relax, and 40% indulge in some kind of snack or beverage as part of their de-stressing process.

On the other hand, 75% have a similarly designated routine or area to help them feel more productive, including 77% of millennials compared to 65% of boomers.

Forty-one percent of people move to a different part of their house to feel more productive, while 31% will do the same to get away from a potential distraction.

For 45% of overall respondents, the bedroom is where they feel the most relaxed — but for 25%, it’s where they feel the most productive.

Other elements can also serve as double-duty mood boosters; 65% said they find blue colors “relaxing” and 39% find them “energizing,” while 55% and 47%, respectively, said the same of cinnamon.

“Engaging the senses is one of the easiest and most effective brain hacks,” said Sandra Barvaux, VP of Fragrance at Aera. “The olfactory system, especially, since it is most closely connected to the emotional center in the brain. Even small, simple changes in an environment can powerfully impact mood and productivity.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis first began in March of 2020, 66% said they’ve put more effort into optimizing the way their home makes them feel.

But out of the fifth (23%) of people who’ve reportedly bought furniture in the past 12 months, comfort was the biggest priority. Sixty-one percent purchased comfortable seating (e.g. sofas, couches), while 48% bought desks or office chairs.

However, over a third (36%) have bought new decorative items or accents, including 40% of women compared to 30% of men.

“While how something looks might be the first thing you notice, thinking about how it feels, smells and sounds is just as important when considering the overall mood it will help create in your home,” noted Barvaux.


  1. Citrus — 59%
  2. Peppermint — 53%
  3. Cinnamon — 47%
  4. Pine — 45%
  5. Ginger — 43%


  1. Lavender — 71%
  2. Vanilla — 67%
  3. Jasmine — 61%
  4. Cinnamon — 55%
  5. Eucalyptus — 53%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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