It’s that time of year where we want to cut loose the chaos and clutter of the past, to pave the way for a lighter, brighter and much calmer 2018. Recent research from Carpetright revealed that two thirds (65%) of people find a messy room stressful and three quarters (76%) say that the layout of a room impacts how they feel. Does this mean that “state of home” and “state of mind” are connected?
We turn to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui to find out.
What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is the art and science of organising your surroundings to create a particular atmosphere in the room. This is said to have a genuine impact on your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Feng Shui expert, Priya Sher, points out that “the layout of a room has a great effect on the energy of the space.” Could this explain the 76% of people who feel affected by it?
Feng Shui master, Alan Stirling, certainly thinks so: “Science has proven that our environment directly affects our quality of life, something Feng Shui has been doing for millennia. So, if you want to change your life, start by first changing your environment.”
1. Keep entrances clear
The front door is the first and last thing you come into contact with when entering and exiting your home, so it can set the mood and even act as a catalyst for positive change. In Feng Shui, your home receives its chi (energy nourishment) through this portal. As Sher points out, “if anything blocks the door or is placed awkwardly, it obstructs the flow of energy and this can have an effect on the occupants.”
2. De-clutter your space
The basis to all Feng Shui is clear space, as it lays the groundwork for a calm and focused mind. Stirling considers clutter to be “obstacles or barriers that affect specific aspects of your life.” Wherever there’s mess, the energy flow gets obstructed, which affects clarity of mind. Therefore, removing these “barriers” allows energy to flow more freely, and can help detox your mind from any harmful or negative thought patterns.
3. Be the commander
In Feng Shui, the command position involves placing the main piece of furniture used in each room (such as a bed, seat or desk) where you can see the door without being in direct line with it. This empowers you to be the commander of your own energy, so that you’re best positioned, both physically and mentally, to deal with what comes into your life. Sher recognises that this is of particular importance in the bedroom, as placement of the bed is vital for good quality sleep.
4. Bring the outdoors in
Clean air is an essential element to Feng Shui, but can be hard to come by. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it should be considered as another room in your home. If you live in a city, bring the outdoors in with house plants. Sher explains how “plant flowers and plants activate energy,” as they absorb pollutants and toxins, whilst emitting oxygen. This purifies the air you breathe, helping to revitalise your body.
5. Find balance in the elements
For a harmonious home, you will need a balanced blend of all five Feng Shui elements to bring vibrant energy to all areas of your space and life. However, these don’t necessarily need to have an equal presence in every room. For example, “in the kitchen, the layout and placement of the cooker (fire) and sink (water) is of great importance to your relationship,” says Sher. Stirling also recognises how our environment is very often an expression of how we feel inwardly. Ideally, it should inspire us to make the most of our lives.
6. Energy map your home
The bagua, or the Feng Shui energy map, shows how “each part of the home represents different aspects of your life,” says Sher. This can help identify where you need to release energy. For example, the northern part of your home is related to your career and the flow of water. If this is an area that feels blocked, you may want to introduce a fountain to that room to reinforce balance, flow and progression.
“Investing in your home is investing in yourself,” says Sher, “if you keep your home in good condition and make it beautiful, this will be reflected in your life.”