Create a Sanctuary in Your Home
Stress is on the Rise!
Americans are notorious for having fast-paced, work-driven lives. More than 18 percent of adults are diagnosed with anxiety disorders each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health and antidepressants are the No. 1 prescribed drug category in America. High levels of stress can increase your likelihood of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer! Let go of your daily stress and improve your health, well-being, and happiness by creating a space in your home specifically designed to be a daily retreat. Here are some tips you can use to create a personal sanctuary, a room to promote your natural flow, in your own home.
Create a Flow Room
Professor of psychology Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience he calls “flow” as a state of engagement in which you’re using your talents, optimally challenged, consummately interested, and able to let time melt away. Create a room designed to let your stress melt away. Taking a cue from family rooms in Denmark, you can establish a room where it’s easy to play an instrument, take part in a hobby, read a book, or play a game with family.
Organize your flow room so it’s easy for you to unwind. Place a large table in the middle of the room to accommodate the whole family’s projects. Line the room with books. Lose the clock, TV, computer, or any other gadget that could distract you from your goal. Make it the most aesthetically appealing room in the house (with the best light and the nicest furniture), so you’ll naturally be drawn to spend time in it.
Customize your room using colors, music and smells that suit your flow mood. Research performed by Dr. Brian Raudenbush, the department chair of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University, shows the smell of lavender is particularly effective at reducing human stress hormones, while peppermint promotes energy and wakefulness. Place a scented candle in your flow room to match your desired energy.
Movies use music to set the stage, using sound for dramatic effect, to increase suspense or even to prolong a goodbye. Play music in your flow room to help you unwind. Play soothing music to promote relaxation. Research at Emporia State University shows correlations between listening to classical and pop music with an increase in positive feelings. Be creative!
A great deal of research has been done on color’s effect on mood. Painting your flow room yellow will inspire energy and a bright mood. Paint areas for meditation and rest a soothing color to promote relaxation. Japanese hospitals are painted a healing shade of sea-foam green. Green, blue, and purple promote relaxation and calmness. These colors may even lower blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate! Designing a room to promote your “flow” will give you a place to escape and engage your natural talents!