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Feng Shui for Mental Health

Is your home causing anxiety, depression, or unhappiness?

 

THE INTERIOR DESIGN OF A ROOM CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT

EFFECT ON THE MOOD

 

 

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We've all had the experience of heading home after a stressful day. Maybe you experienced anxiety resulting from work emergencies. Or perhaps you fought with a family member. You might have been defeated in an important game or suffered the loss of a loved one. After a shock or upset, our instincts tell us to go home. Unwind, recharge, and lick your wounds. We retreat to our private spaces when we need spiritual or social protection.

The personal spaces in our home set the stage for many moments in our lives. And because these areas are the setting for so many important and stressful periods in life, it's crucial that your personal spaces comfort, support, and provide positive emotional energy.

While so much of our life is out of our control, our home is a place we have total jurisdiction over. Whether you take a minimalist approach or advocate for the "more is more," how you furnish your home, paint your walls, and arrange your belongings will significantly impact your sense of security and well-being.

 

 

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CAN HOME DESIGN IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH?

According to the Mental Health Foundation, anxiety and depression are the most common mental health complaints. However, many interior design techniques and approaches have been shown to reduce stress and depression. While making the connection between home design and emotional stability is not new, recent studies have fortified the validity of these claims. In the healthcare industry, the links are well-documented. Creating spaces for being together and being apart can increase mental health.

The business world also pays attention to the psychological effects of interior design. Corporate designers use color, lighting, layouts, textures, and artwork to create motivating, uplifting spaces that will promote efficiency, creativity, happiness and trust.

 

According to Chloe Taylor in Psychology Tomorrow magazine,

"Although the bond between interior design and our emotions has gained much attention in the last decade, this form of environmental psychology has existed for thousands of years – the Indian Vastu Shastra and the Chinese Feng Shui, for example. They have shown the ability of interior design elements to evoke a positive or negative emotional response in people. These practices open the door to design spaces that consciously manipulate decorative and meaningful elements with the goal of encouraging creativity, peace, and happiness."

 

While many interior design elements have been associated with improved mental health, a few components seem to be mentioned again and again. The effects of sunlight, spaciousness, plants and flowers, natural elements, color, and artwork have been extensively studied. When used correctly, each design element can create an environment conducive to reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

 

 

 

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SUNLIGHT LIGHTENS YOUR MOOD

A light-drenched room is a joy to behold, but did you know that sunlight also reduces depression? Whether you get your sunlight outdoors or through a window, sunlight is a mood lifter. More sunlight in rooms can boost happiness, and a persistent lack of sun can trigger sadness or enhance anxiety. Sunlight also seems to energize and motivate humans at home and work. A 2002 study reported that daylight was one of the most critical factors in increasing sales volume in retail settings.

While many studies have demonstrated the physiological benefits of natural light, one study showed that employees with access to natural light noticeably outperformed co-workers without sunlight in their workspaces. Additionally, when people had to work using only artificial light, they showed a qualitative lack of vitality and signs of poor sleep.

 

 

 

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EXPANDING YOUR HOME'S SPACIOUSNESS CAN EXPAND YOUR SPIRIT

Most people prefer lots of space to cramped quarters, but not everyone knows a sense of spaciousness can elevate your mood. One study reported that people tend to be more creative in rooms with higher ceilings, and their mood improves. However, the positive effects of spaciousness can also be achieved in rooms with lower ceilings. It seems that a sense of spaciousness is one of the critical components of happier places because the energy can circulate freely, without obstacles.

Clean, open homes with minimal clutter facilitate better moods, this sense of openness can be achieved in almost any space with the right design, furniture, organization, and lighting.

 

 

De-cluttering is the first step to creating spacious rooms and homes. Room layouts, furniture placement, storage solutions, and color schemes are significant contributors to a space that feels open and airy. One study identified that room organization is a substantial component of a peaceful, soothing home. Spaces that were easy to navigate and fostered social interaction reduced anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed. In all room sizes, the use of furniture arrangement and the function of furniture pieces contributed to creating mentally healthy spaces.

 

 

 

 

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PLANTS AND FLOWERS IN THE HOME IMPROVE THE MOOD

Bringing nature into the home elevates moods, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by using house plants and flowers. Studies from Texas A&M conclude that the presence of plants improves concentration and memory retention and reduces stress.

Many houseplants are natural air filters, reduce allergens, and increase air quality. They also increase the oxygen levels in the air, stabilize humidity, and look great. No wonder they help people feel more relaxed and more centered.

Flowers also provide mood-lifting benefits. Flowers around the home can reduce the likelihood of depression and increase positive feelings.

 

 

 

 

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BRING IN THE ELEMENTS: WATER, WIND, FIRE, METAL, AND EARTH

Sunlight, space, plants, and flowers make people feel more relaxed and less anxious in their homes. It's no coincidence that these are all-natural elements. Throughout history, humankind has tried to bring nature's beauty and calming effects into the house. People have been bringing nature indoors for thousands of years, whether animal furs, woven grass mats, or Christmas trees.

The ancient practice of Feng Shui celebrates shapes and textures that represent the natural elements of earth, water, wood, metal, and fire. In today's home, we can incorporate these elements in many ways. Fountains and pools celebrate water, but mirrors and reflective surfaces also deliver some of the same benefits. Open windows bring in the wind, but fabrics that move quickly and mobiles also provide some of the wind's psychological benefits. Fireplaces and candles allow us to bring in the fire. Metal and earth are present in iron, brass, silver, wood, and stone.

 

 

 

 

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USE COLOR IN YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH

One of the most well-documented mood-altering design elements is color. For many people, color is a primary component of our world experiences. 

When referring to colors, people refer to reds, yellows, and oranges as "warm colors," while greens, blues, and purples are "cool." These categorizations are not a coincidence. When we are in rooms that feature warm colors, we feel physically warmer, and cool colors make us feel cooler. That's one of the reasons reds are so popular in the winter, while turquoise and teal are more popular in warm weather.

And of course, each color has associated psychological effects. Decades of research confirm that some colors consistently evoke certain emotional responses.

  • Red
  • Red is the color of power, aggression, and passion. It also triggers the appetite (which is why it is such a popular color in restaurants.) Red is a warm color, which means red accents can heat up the space quickly. However, red is also associated with anger and control. Incorporating too much red in the home can make people feel anxious or unsettled, so use it sparingly if you're trying to achieve a calming effect.
  • Orange
  • Orange is associated with energy, sports, competition, and innovation. It's another warm tone that can quickly make a space feel snug and cozy. However, orange is such an energetic color that it is rarely used as a dominant color in home design. It is more often seen in office settings and sports facilities. It's not the color to use if you're trying to create a serene space, but when skillfully incorporated into your interior design, orange can serve as a cheerful mood lifter.
  • Yellow
  • Yellow is the only warm color associated with relaxation. It is associated with happiness, creativity, and innocence. Because yellow is also associated with nurturing, it is often featured in kitchens, children's rooms, and private areas of the home. Less saturated yellows also work well with neutrals to create a relaxing effect. Yellow can also work in sunny spaces, intensifying the effects of sunlight.
  • Green
  • Green is a soothing, calming color. It is associated with balance, harmony, and nature. It is also the color of growth and renewal. Green is often used in professional settings to help occupants feel calmer. That's why actors waiting to appear on TV are kept in a "green room." In homes, green can create a serene feeling that soothes and calms. However, a little green goes a long way. Saturated greens can quickly overwhelm, making the room look dank or dark. The use of bright greens, or apple greens make a room look cheerful, but if used repeatedly, these colors can take over. Conversely, greyish greens, sage tones, or khakis often read as a neutral color, and help create a relaxing space.
  • Blue
  • This is a color that communicates fresh, calm, serenity. It is a conservative, orderly color that works well in professional settings. It's popular in health offices and financial institutions. However, saturated blues can evoke oceans and water, and work very well beside bright whites. Blue is also associated with sadness (feeling blue) and may not be a good color to ward off depression. Finally, research shows that blue is one of the least appetizing colors, which may be why it's used less often in kitchens and restaurants.
  • Purple
  • This is an indulgent color that evokes feelings of luxury, privilege, and specialness. It is a ceremonial color used in many religions to connote divinity. It is also a color associated with exceptional individuality, creativity, and even quirkiness. In a home, the use of purple is unusual, which makes it a striking statement. Pale purples, or lavender, is considered feminine, soft, and comforting. Deeply saturated purples, like eggplant, are powerful. Too much dark purple can make people feel sad. No matter which shade is used, studies show that using too much purple makes some people feel irritable and arrogant.
  • Grey
  • When appropriately used, grey accents in home design can create neutrality and balance. Because it is a balance of black and white, it can be used as a neutral. However, many greys are actually a shade of blue, green, yellow, or even purple, so it's important to pay attention to the tonality of any grey. In color psychology, grey has negative connotations associated with depression, loss, and listlessness. Rooms that are dominantly grey can feel cold and unwelcoming.
  • Brown
  • Brown is a color often found in nature. Studies show the use of brown in a home evokes feelings of strength and reliability. Using brown in a room can create a sense of dependability, security, and safety. Brown is present in many rooms as a part of wood furniture or wooden cabinets. Using brown on walls, floors, or furniture in spaces with a lot of brown wood can cause the room to feel heavy, unimaginative, or dull. Combining browns with greens, whites, and neutrals is an effective way to create a serene, cheerful space.
  • Black
  • Many people think that black is the absence of color, but in fact, black absorbs all light in the color spectrum, meaning it is the combination of all colors. When you add many leftover paint colors together, it often creates black. Research in color psychology shows that black evokes many different associations. It is often linked with death, unhappiness, and mystery. But it's also the color of sophistication, seriousness, intellectualism, and sexuality. Black is not a cheerful color, so it's usually used as an accent. When used sparingly, black elements can create calming harmony and balance in a room. Liberal use of black can also make an area look powerful, dramatic, or important.
  • White
  • White is a neutral color that is common in most homes. Most ceilings are white, and this color is the most popular choice for walls. White reflects light, making rooms feel brighter, more spacious, and bigger. It also evokes feelings of cleanliness, purity, and innocence. Too much white, however, can feel bland or sterile. Notably, few people list white as their favorite color. But it is an easy color to work with in interior design. White goes with anything – dark or light, bright or saturated. White provides a practical background for statement pieces like artwork or sculptures, which is why so many museums have white walls. Importantly, it is easy to see imperfections on white. Dirt, wear, or stains are easy to spot on things like white sofas, white floors, and white cabinetry.

 

 

 

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ART & DECORATION IN THE HOME AFFECTS THE MOOD

Many studies show that viewing art can positively impact your mood and mental health. However, some art also creates sad or negative emotions. Like the psychology of color, the psychology of art is based on social norms. Personal tastes and experiences greatly influence how people react to art. But we know that having beautiful and unique expressions are one of the most effective ways to create spaces that feel welcoming and restorative. Art in the home may be an original masterpiece or an inexpensive print. Pottery, ceramics, silver pieces, sculptures, decorative pieces, glassware, are all forms of art. Feng shui decorations offer a wide range of meaningful objects that works for different purposes. Our brains are wired to appreciate and respond to patterns and assign emotions to art and decorative elements.

 

Find items that speak to you and fit with the way you live and the way you want to feel in your home. Selecting decoration that supports your goals is a quick way to manifest and make them come true. Instead of choosing decorations with no meaning, use objects that have them; these objects work by permeating their energy in the room. Living in a house surrounded by meaningful decoration helps us manifest our goals.

 

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