Your home is supposed to be your haven, the place where you can relax and wash away the stresses of the day. But, if your house is messy, cluttered or designed in a way that opposes certain Feng Shui principles, it could actually be adding to your stress. Apply a few tips to make your home the serene spot it should be.
Plant a garden
It might seem like getting dirty in the yard could raise stress levels, but it turns out just the opposite is true for many people. It’s “so effective at combating depression, stress, and anxiety that it’s often used in ‘horticultural therapy’ at psychiatric hospitals,” said Rodale’s Organic Life.
For maximum benefit, choose crops that “can also have an impact on your mood,” they said, including “potent antidepressant foods and herbs” like Swiss chard, which is “packed with magnesium, a nutrient essential for the biochemical reactions in the brain that boost your energy levels. Cherry tomatoes are another great choice because “tomato skin is rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient that actually stops the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression.”
Bring some plants indoors, too
A little greenery sprinkled throughout your home can be beneficial physically because it improves air quality. Researchers have also found a link between houseplants and a person’s emotional state.
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, “‘bringing the outdoors inside’ can offer some of the benefits that are lost by retreating indoors,” said the Daily Mail. “Plants reduce stress levels, improve mood and filter polluted air. A review of the scientific evidence suggests that workers are more productive when their office is filled with greenery, and hospital patients even tolerate pain better if there is a plant on the ward.
Perhaps, most importantly, plants also trap and filter pollutants that are linked to thousands of deaths a year.”
There’s a big difference between having a few too many knickknacks on the shelf and dishes in the sink and being a full-blown hoarder, but too much clutter can definitely have an effect on your emotional state. In fact, there is a proven link between clutter and depression, researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families discovered. Among their findings: “A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female homeowners and a high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women feel,” said Houselogic. “Men, on the other hand, don’t seem bothered by mess, which accounts for tensions between tidy wives and their clutter-bug hubbies. Women associate a tidy home with a happy and successful family. The more dishes that pile up in the sink, the more anxious women feel.”
A few of Houselogic’s easy decluttering tips include:
- Adopt the Rule of Five. “Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put away five things. Or, each hour, devote five minutes to de-cluttering. At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for an hour.”
- Don’t let dishes pile up. “A clean sink will instantly raise your spirits and decrease your anxiety.”
- Pare down photos. “Put snapshots in a family album, which will immediately de-clutter many flat surfaces.”
- Aim to actually see your refrigerator again. “Researchers found a correlation between the number of items stuck to the fridge door and the amount of clutter throughout the house. Toss extra magnets, file restaurant menus, and place calendars in less conspicuous places.”
Add a water feature
Live on a busy street or have other noise you’d like to mask? Maybe you just need an easy way to add a relaxing feature to your environment. A fountain may be your answer.
“Studies show that being near water reduces stress levels. As little as five minutes with nature can help reduce stress hormones, but being near water may have a stronger impact,” said Masterplan Landscape Design. “Evaporating water produces negative ions, which are invisible, tasteless, odorless molecules that we inhale. Negative ions have been shown to boost moods and lower stress hormones.”
If you’re building a pool, keep the fountain idea in mind. Not only will it add the de-stressing benefits to your yard and provide a great focal point, but pool fountains and waterfalls have an added benefit in helping keep water cool – great for areas where hot temps can make the pool feel like a bath by mid-summer.
Reconsider your color
Color theory shows that certain hues can bring energy and excitement while others can help us feel more relaxed and serene. For instance, if you find yourself unable to sleep in a red bedroom, blue might be a better choice.
“Color can have a huge impact on our experience of a space – but that doesn’t mean it has to be colorless to be calming,” said Houzz. “Color is personal, so spend time getting to know how color (or a lack of it) affects you, and intentionally choose your home’s colors to create a tranquil feeling. For some, an all-white space would be the ultimate in calm and relaxation, while someone else may get that same calm, cool feeling in a rich mineral-green room.”
Apply the principles of Feng Shui
Color therapy, decluttering, and bringing nature indoors are all considered principles of Feng Shui, but a few more can impact how you feel at home.
“The benefits associated with the promotion of organization, relaxation and productivity that’s central to Feng Shui” could be realized by something as simple as leaving your shoes at the door – a “purposeful way of leaving all outside events and potentially negative stressors out of your home or ‘safe haven,'” said HealthCentral.