Creating Calm at Home

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Over the past few issues of TYV, we’ve talked about creating calm in your mind. But how much is your mind influenced by your surroundings?

If I asked you to close your eyes and picture your home, what do you see? Chaos as you enter the door? Paperwork for school or college scattered around your bedroom? Dirty dishes in the sink from last night’s dinner? Or do you picture an organised space that you can’t wait to return home to every day? Everything in its place? A calming colour scheme and cosy furnishings?

You might not have thought much about it before, but the idea that our home environments influence our state of mind is not a new one. In fact, Feng Shui is an ancient art and science that attempts to create balance and harmony in our lives through the effective management of our environment. According to Feng Shui, an organised home or workspace leads to an organised mind. The idea is that our environment is an extension of us; we should see it as being a connected, rather than detached, entity. By making simple changes in our environment, we can create a fantastic positive impact on our psychological health and even cope better with stress.

First steps – attachment to ‘things’

I always remember, when I was at university, each time my best friend and I used to move to a new student flat, I’d always ask her, “Where’s all your ‘stuff’?” I remember being baffled by how little she had in terms of material possessions. She seemed to move from place to place with just one box. I, on the other hand, was weighed down by trinkets, books, CDs, and what I could only describe as ‘junk’. At the time, I used to think my friend was the odd one, but looking back, she had some serious Feng Shui going on!

Feng Shui requires that we don’t attach ourselves to meaningless ‘things’. So, if you’re ready to adopt a bit of Feng Shui in your own home or workspace, you need to be ready for some serious de-cluttering. When you look at an object, ask yourself some questions: “Does it bring me joy? Do I find it beautiful? Do I use it? Does it enhance my life?” If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time to let go!

Think calming colours and coordination

Clashes of patterns and busy colours can make our environment too stimulating. Our eyes are already exposed to so much colour and glare of computer screens, mobile phones and flashing banners and signs, we need to give them a rest when we’re in our own space. At home, choose matching (and minimal) patterns. Go for the ‘blank canvas’ look with hints of colour or touches of pattern in soft furnishings. Blues and greens are calming colours, so use them in spaces where you need to relax and unwind. If you struggle to stay awake when you’re studying, try reds or yellows. But remember, keep it simple and stick to one colour in one space, or use the colour in splashes against an off-white background.

Reorganise your furniture

The principles of Feng Shui even tell us how to arrange our furniture in order to get the best out of our lives and align a productive and positive mind with a home with the perfect flow and energy. For your study space, position your desk so that you’re facing the door – this is known as a ‘power position’, where you can see people coming into the room. Organise your desk and keep it free of clutter, and choose a high-back, comfortable chair.

In your bedroom, TVs, laptops and other electronics are a big no-no. Open your windows as much as possible, or use an air-purifier to keep fresh air flowing. Make sure that your bed is always made and free from clothes and clutter. Position your bed, if possible, so that you can get into it from both sides, and avoid putting it directly in line with the door. Choose neutral, soothing colours, and choose your artwork carefully (art prints and posters should make you feel calm and positive).

Little changes can make a huge difference. You don’t need to rush out to buy new paint and a paint roller, but you can start by simply organising clutter and throwing away anything that no longer serves a purpose or brings you joy (or, even better, donate it to a local charity).

Why not give it a go? And let us know how you’re bringing more Feng Shui into your life!