Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor, once said, "He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the Universe."
To achieve harmony with the Universe is an ambitious goal. But as the great emperor stated, it will come in short order once you achieve harmony within yourself. Mindfulness, the psychological process of focusing awareness on the present and acknowledging one’s thoughts and feelings, can be a powerful tool in developing personal harmony.
However, we live in a loud, cluttered world full of distractions. It’s hard to focus on the present when so much of our lives depends on what comes next. To successfully practice mindfulness, one needs to block external distractions and focus on the inner self.
Create a more mindful space.
Your home is where you retire after long days or when you need refuge from the storms outside. It’s just as much a place of protection as it is of rejuvenation. But is your home optimally situated to help you recover, or does it only add to the stress in your life?
You’re probably familiar with the term feng shui, which is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing elements of the surrounding environment. Feng shui focuses on architecture in metaphoric terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together.
Historically, feng shui was used to orient buildings, often spiritually significant structures, in such a manner as to tap into the binding invisible forces of the universe and create harmony.
Whether or not you practice feng shui, there is a powerful tie between your well-being and where you live. Picture your home. What purposes do each of its rooms serve? Eating, cleaning, sleeping, watching television? Do you have a space in your room free of clutter you can escape to in order to unwind or to prepare and plan out your next day?
Our rooms are defined by what we do in them. So, if you’re looking to create a more mindful space, why not dedicate a room or space in your home to being more mindful?
Here are nine things you can do to help create a more mindful space:
1. Decorate with a Himalayan salt lamp.
You might have seen pink, hollowed-out salt lamps at a friend’s place or local store. While attractive pieces for any room, these illuminative devices are more than just decorative night lights. Made from pink salt crystals mined from the edge of the Himalayan Mountains, Himalayan salt lamps are said to have several beneficial healing properties.
First, salt is hygroscopic. That means it attracts water molecules from the surrounding environment. As these Himalayan salt rock lamps pull in water, they also capture any contaminants in the room. This helps detoxify the room of unwanted particles and leaves behind a more purified environment, easing allergy and asthma symptoms.
Himalayan salt rock lamps are also said to release negative ions. This helps recreate the feeling of being outside in nature, helping reduce stress, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep.
2. Diffuse essential oils.
If you’re looking to create a more relaxing living space, an essential oil diffuser should be on your list.
Aromatherapy uses natural oils extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, and other plant parts to improve psychological and physical well-being. The aroma from these natural, essential oils helps to stimulate brain function. Oils can also be absorbed through the skin.
Essential oils can be used in an aromatherapy diffuser. When it comes to selecting a diffuser, you have a number of different options, including some of the following:
Like Himalayan salt lamps, there are a number of health benefits. Not only will diffusers help purify and dehumidify the air, but they can help your room smell pleasant, boost your mood, repel insects, and ultimately help you de-stress.
Each diffuser is a little different, so be sure to figure out what you’re looking for before making your purchase.
3. Bring the outdoors in.
Nature has the power to heal, from the sounds and smells to the visuals and open air. And as much as we’d love to spend more time hiking next to trees and walking past waterfalls, we don’t always have that luxury.
With that said, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing the outdoors in. When decorating your home to create a more mindful space, select colors that reflect the outdoors. Soft tones, like white, gray, or beige can help induce a sense of relaxation. Having colors that work well together is not only important aesthetically, but it helps create harmony between your walls, floors, furniture, and other items.
Alongside the colors you use, you’ll want to introduce more natural light into your home. Energy-efficient fluorescent lights can be harsh and cause headaches and other disruptions over time. Instead, use the sun to bring natural, calm light into your space. If you can’t modify your setup for more natural light, try to find some nature-inspired lights or candles. Be creative and look for floor lamps, or lamp sets, to avoid a strong direct light from the ceiling and give you the ability to control the intensity of the areas to be lit.
4. Remove distractions to relax your mind.
We live in a digital, electrical world. We are constantly connected, attached to many different devices for work and entertainment. And while these tools can help make certain tasks much easier, they can add further clutter and stress to our lives. Not to mention, these devices leave behind electromagnetic radiation that can lead to fatigue, stress, and even weaken your immune system.
Think of it as electrosmog clouding your space. You wouldn’t want to breathe in smog, and you should avoid its electrical counterpart. It’s most likely impossible for you to trash all your devices, but you can certainly limit when and where you use them.
Many experts recommending avoiding using electronics before you go to bed. Also, when creating a more mindful space, try to keep it clear from as many electrical distractions as possible. Keep the television, computer, and phone elsewhere.
5. Remove mirrors.
Feng shui teaches that energy can bounce off mirrors and create a spirit of anxiety and restlessness if they aren’t set up properly. Some studies even suggest that too many mirrors can increase your stress level.
While mirrors can help enlarge a space, that’s not the intent when trying to create a more mindful environment. Keep your mirrors elsewhere and instead focus on items that will help lessen your stress and anxiety.
6. Use natural materials.
As you decorate your space with furniture, invest in objects made from natural materials like wood, clay, or marble. The impact your environment has on your mind cannot be overstated, and the last thing you want in a mindful space is cold pieces that bring no livelihood. Natural, earthy materials will combat the cold and bring more warmth into your environment.
7. Adopt a spirit of minimalism.
Minimalism can exist on a spectrum. There are those who try to clean out their garage every year, those who live entirely waste-free, and there are those who won’t have more than 100 items, refusing to own cars, televisions, or even have careers.
This isn’t to suggest that you should declutter everything in your home, but it certainly is a call to be less dependent on possessions. Ask yourself, "How might my life be better with less?" per The Minimalists, who now have a documentary out about the subject.
The more you have, the more you must take care of and find room for. It takes up space and clutters your mind. A messy dwelling cannot be a place of peace and tranquillity. The trick is to find the right balance. We can almost all live with less, but you must decide what you need versus what you want. Certainly, when trying to create a more mindful space, it should be minimalist and as clear from things and clutter as possible.
8. Keep your area clean.
Purifying the air and keeping your room decluttered are great steps but incomplete if there’s dirt or grime all over your house.
Take the time to do your dishes, make your bed, wash your clothes, and fold your laundry. Not only will a clean space improve your overall hygiene, it’ll improve your mood. Organization and cleanliness in your space are essential to helping you avoid disharmony. Have you ever looked at a sink full of dishes or an overflowing hamper and felt happy? Probably not.
Take the time to take care of your entire home and your mindful space.
9. Practice yoga or meditation.
Becoming more aware of the present and one’s thoughts and feelings doesn’t come by simply cleaning up a few rooms and plugging in a salt lamp. Those things will certainly create the ideal environment, but the most important piece of the puzzle is you.
You must take the time to relax and unwind. Sleeping alone sometimes isn’t enough.
For centuries people have turned to meditation as a means of becoming more aware of themselves and tapping into an energy greater than their own. Mindful meditation can help you find what you’re looking for. Another popular method is mindful yoga. Whatever method you choose, be sure to add it to your routine and practice it in your mindfully focused environment. Combining personal actions within the right environment will accelerate progress and help you discover what you’re looking for.
Intrigued? Here's exactly how to make your home better with DIY Feng Shui.
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