Although at times chaotic, a home should be a place of retreat and relaxation. We live in a noisy and busy world, with far too many stimuli. Therefore, we need to aspire to create a stress-free environment in our homes.
Too much stress can be bad for our mental wellbeing but also for our physical health. The process of removing stress from the home can be achieved with minor changes, and you will feel the tangible benefits.
What makes a home stressful?
We do not purposely design our homes to wind us up. We don’t think ‘I know I will make this area stressful so I can never rest’. It happens with the changing arrangement of furniture. You might have collected clutter along the way. Your colour scheme may be doing nothing to calm the mind. Along with your food choices and sleep hygiene, the organisation of your possessions can do much to create or reduce tensions.
How does Feng Shui work?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that dates back millennia. It is the art of placement, and it links people to the environment in which they live. The most important concept is the flow of chi through the house. Chi is the life force that animates our world and permeates into everything. To bring calm, you need to allow this chi to flow without obstructions.
Although there are three different schools of thought, Feng Shui can be condensed to some universal principles. You essentially need to highlight key areas of your home and identify where the furniture should go. In simple terms, this requires you to do these things:
- Remove clutter: clutter is the biggest trigger of stress. According to the teachings of Feng Shui, this clutter is absorbing all the positive energy in your home. If you want to feel better, then you need to rid yourself of unnecessary possession. The minimalism of Chinese design is not a quirk of taste, but a deeply held belief that unnecessary possessions create stress.
- Balance your rooms: you need to try to incorporate each of the five elements in your home for the greatest calm. Therefore, you need fire, earth, water, metal and wood. It could be argued that the lighting of candles in a room is often how we bring this balance to our space. If you are worried that this will make your home feel chaotic, you can suggest the elements in prints or through symbolism.
- Use mirrors: a mirror will reflect energy in the room. Your best position for your mirror, for ultimate effect, is if you can reflect nature from outdoors indoors. You do not want to reflect specific images that are deemed detrimental – such as the rubbish bin.
- Tend to your garden: your garden should be the ultimate place of tranquillity. The same principles you have just applied in your home should now be transferred to your outside area.
Beyond Feng Shui
If the idea of Feng Shui is too much, then there are more down to earth ways of being stress-free in your home. For instance, you could select one room in your home that is meant for relaxing and nothing else. This room could be like the quiet coach on the train. There will be no unnecessary conversations and no use of electronic devices in this space. The point of this area is to cultivate quiet and connection to beautiful things. This dedicated relaxation space will trigger relaxation, as your body and mind will become conditioned to link this environment to calm.
Having a routine around your home can also reduce stress. You can start to devote certain days and times to tasks. You may vacuum on a Tuesday and Friday morning, for instance. After a while, this vacuuming will become a habit, and you will feel stress if you don’t do it. If you choose your vacuuming times ad-hoc, then it will always feel like a stressful experience.
Finally, you could purchase some houseplants and bring flowers into your home. Mindfulness, or meditation, is about concentrating on your senses rather than your inner chatter. When there are plants or flowers, we can distract our mind away from anxieties and stresses. Plants are also renowned in multiple cultures for removing negative energy from a space. Scientifically, plants can remove toxins from the air, boosting our sense of physical wellbeing, which in turn promotes our mental wellbeing.