Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes and ourselves, while a messy house can send signals to the brain that work is never done, making it more difficult to relax and leaving us feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
A UK wide survey by the Mental Health Foundation found last year, 74% of the UK felt overwhelmed with stress at some point in the previous year. And whilst there is a wide range of stress factors, one of the least recognised but easiest life stressors to fix is decluttering your home.
One concept said to bring about positive energy and improve mental wellbeing is Feng Shui, a lot of which refers to how to position things and avoid cluttering. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (13th-19th May), ScS has teamed up with Feng Shui consultant and teacher, Nikki Bishop, on what it can do for mental wellbeing, and how you can achieve this in your home.
Nikki Bishop, a Feng Shui consultant for almost 20 years, says: “Making a house a home is a familiar phrase, and anyone who has been house hunting knows that some attract us more than others. Feng Shui is an understanding of energy. When this life force energy is present and vibrant, people, animals, and plant life are also vibrant and prosper, but when it is adversely affected then plants can wilt and die, animals suffer, as do humans. We need this energy to be vibrant to support us, in the same way as we have this energy inside of us, a house also contains this energy.
In our modern urban environment, properties are being built in locations where we would never have built many years ago. As a result, there is an increasing number of properties that could benefit from an improved flow of energy.”
Nikki advises on ten basic principles that anyone can apply to their home:
1. Keep the path to the front door clear of any rubbish, weeds, or clutter.
2. Avoid clutter and homeware pieces that are too large for the size of the space it sits in to allow the energy to flow freely.
3. Position sofas so you have a solid wall behind you and where you have a clear view of the door into the room. Having a clear sight of the entrance to the room helps those with anxiety to relax in their own home.
4. Don’t feel that your furniture is fixed, move it around to freshen up the atmosphere of the room.
5. Stick to a lighter palette of colour as they’re more versatile but use stronger colours to accent certain rooms or areas through soft furnishings and artwork.
6. If placing mirrors, be mindful of what they reflect. Ensure they reflect something nice.
7. Consider the symbolism of the art you place on your walls and how it makes you feel personally.
8. Have a variety of lighting that you can adjust to the time of day and uses of the room. This works with the yin and yang energy of the space.
9. Fresh flowers contribute a good feeling, but ensure you remove them once they are past their best.
10. Make use of a variety of forms and shapes. Earth shapes can become dominant. Earth shapes are square - break this up by adding some rounded or oval shapes.
Dale Gillespie, Head of Acquisition at ScS, comments: “After a while, our home interiors can feel tired and uninspiring, however keeping up with all the latest interior trends and fashions can be time-consuming and expensive. Meeting in the middle by playing around with the furniture and home accessories is a smart go-to before considering any huge DIY changes and it can have a significant impact on how stressed you feel. Hopefully these tips will help people to bring a little more positive energy into their homes.”