Another year has passed, and as usual, New Year’s resolutions are a popular practice. Whether it be eating better, exercising, making more time to take care of one’s health, etc., it’s important to take some time to focus on yourself during these quieter winter months. Part of this focus can be on organizing and optimizing your living space; something that seems so unimportant can actually have a profound impact on health and well-being. We can focus on bettering ourselves through our environment by utilizing an ancient Chinese practice called Feng Shui. Feng shui is a simple and elegant practice that has been used for thousands of years. Such practices are said to not only improve health, but improve relationships, and bring prosperity to anyone willing to give it a try.
What is Feng Shui?
The term feng shui translates to “wind” and “water”. The Chinese have used this practice for thousands of years to align and enhance chi, the life force or vital energy that inhabits everything. Chi is composed of yin (feminine energy) and yang (masculine energy), and by balancing these energies, it improves energy flow in any space. One way of doing this is by incorporating aspects of nature into living spaces. Architects and city planners have even used feng shui when designing larger projects. In a nutshell, this practice provides a way of balancing chi by working with energy and the qualities of materials in your space.
There is some science behind its benefits. It’s common knowledge that living in crowded living spaces or neighborhoods can add stress to your system. This includes mental health such as anxiety or physical health such as the increased risk of respiratory diseases. Incorporating feng shui into your everyday environment can add many positive aspects to your living space including:
- Making your home a more welcoming place
- Improving the relationships between family members
- Creating a more relaxing, creative, and inspiring space
- Promoting a restorative and healing environment
How to Add Feng Shui into Your Space
There are many different ways to optimize energy flow in your space. Generally, ways to do this incorporate using aspects of the natural elements. Chinese culture holds there are Five Elements including wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. By adding, subtracting, or mixing elements, it is possible to add positive chi to different areas in your home.
Get rid of the clutter. One way to change the energy flow in your space is to get rid of clutter. You should easily be able to move about your space and only own items which are useful to you. Sell or donate old household items such as clothes, shoes, or decorative items
Grow more plants. Plants help improve air quality in indoor spaces by reducing carbon dioxide and toxic substances in the air. According to feng shui, they may also increase creativity and growth by adding the wood element. If you don’t have a green thumb, that’s okay. Green in its various shades can be added as an alternative.
Utilize natural light when possible. By opening your curtains or shades during the day, the ambient light adds the fire element. If your home has few or no windows, you can consider adding a salt lamp, candles, or even an electric fireplace. When possible, full-spectrum light bulbs are preferred. Fireplaces and wood stoves also help draw the fire aspect into the space. Fire can enhance love, leadership, and boldness qualities in those who live in your home.
Place a few decorative items. Certain items such as stone statues, decorative rocks, or even old books can add elements of earth that can improve strength and stability. Colors such as tans, yellows, or browns can also be incorporated.
Something shiny. Placing gold, silver, or steel colored items adds metal elements in your space. Gold or silver picture frames, pictures with white in them, hanging jewelry or a metal pendant, etc., can add focus and order to your space.
Add some blue. By adding in blue decorations such as a blue vase or a painting with blue hues, you can add in water energy which can balance emotion and create inspiration. A small water feature such as a fountain is another option you can use.
Adding a Professional Perspective
If feng shui is something interesting to you on more than a passing level, you can get professional advice from a feng shui consultant. There are many different schools of thought on this practice, so it’s important to find the right professional. The International Feng Shui Guild may be a good place to start your search.
The practice of feng shui is not right for everyone. Overall, it’s important to live in a space supportive of you and your overall health and feng shui is one of many ways available to help you do just that. Even if feng shui is not something you plan to practice, adding or changing a few things in your home can help create a more restorative environment all year long.
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