Are you frequently overwhelmed by anxiety? Do you feel like your daily environments are chaotic or difficult to manage?
Most of us have at least occasional experiences of feeling over-stimulated, overworked, or overstressed. Oftentimes, these experiences are merely temporary, and they fade away as quickly as they emerge. But if you find yourself consistently struggling to maintain a sense of peace and calm, it's a good idea to make proactive changes to your environment.
How to Make Your Environment More Calming
Whether you're making changes to your workspace, your home, or both, these strategies can help you create a much more calming environment:
- Install a fireplace. Installing a fireplace gives you a secondary source of heat and warmth, and if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you'll also get comforting sensory experiences like the gentle crackle of wood burning and the signature, smoky aroma that many of us love. The next time you feel uncomfortable in your living room, light a fire and try to relax. And if you don't like the idea of a traditional, wood-burning fireplace, don't worry – you can get an electric fireplace or gas fireplace and see many of the same benefits.
- Paint the room a comforting color. Think about the main rooms that you spend time in. For many people, these are the living room, the bedroom, the office, and the kitchen or dining room. Consider painting these rooms comforting, calming colors; many people find that blue and green hues are much more calming than other options, but you should choose colors that match your preferences.
- Declutter regularly. Excessive clutter can make any environment anxiety-inducing, so make it a point to declutter regularly, especially in your most frequently trafficked rooms and areas of the house. Decluttering doesn't take long; if you proactively spend just a few minutes a day picking up random items and organizing them properly, your home will stay in much better order.
- Light candles. Lighting a candle fills the room with a fresh, pleasant scent. After a while, it may not be as noticeable, but it should still have a calming effect. Also, many people appreciate the small, flickering light associated with lit candles; just make sure you use these open flames responsibly.
- Use natural light and fresh air. Human beings thrive in natural environments, so if you're feeling unsettled, see if you can go outside for some natural light and fresh air. You might be amazed at how well you feel after just a few minutes of walking around.
- Dim the lights. If you're trapped inside, you'll need to think about your artificial lighting options. Bright lights may be useful for illuminating your environment and allowing you to focus on specific tasks, but they can also be overwhelming for your senses. That's why dim lights typically result in calmer environments. If you have dimmer switches installed, you can dim the lights directly. Otherwise, consider choosing a light bulb with a softer or less intense glow.
- Play your favorite music. Most of us have favorite artists or songs that can immediately calm us down. Consider making a playlist of some of your most familiar pieces of music, and play it whenever you need some extra calming action. This effect will be heightened if you have high-quality speakers installed in your favorite rooms.
- Avoid technology. Though you might want to use your phone and a set of speakers to play music, you should generally avoid technology anytime you need to create an environment of calm. Technology is a gateway to all kinds of bad feelings, such as outrage from reading the news or disappointment from seeing your friends on social media hanging out without you. Even if you're using technology for innocuous purposes, exposure to digital screens can make you agitated or restless.
- Wear a soft bathrobe (or something similar). Your most frequented spaces should always have comfortable, cozy apparel options available to you. Sometimes, what you need is to slip on a soft bathrobe or a pair of slippers.
- Focus on a mantra. A mantra is a word, phrase, or syllable that you repeat to yourself as a form of meditation. A traditional mantra for calming would be “Om Shanti Om,” but you're free to create your own self-reassuring mantra. Something like “I am at peace with the world around me,” or “I am here. I am present” could work wonders.
Finding What Works for You
Different people are excited and calmed by different things, so it's going to take some experimentation to find what works for you. Try not to be discouraged if your first few rounds of environmental calming don't work as well as you expected.