In the many years I have seen clients for psychotherapy and coaching in a physical building, I've consistently heard feedback that they felt immediately more peaceful upon walking into my waiting room. I, myself, have been paying close attention to how I feel in different places and spaces and making a concerted effort to create a peaceful environment for myself and the people I live and work with.
Whether we realize it or not, we are sensory beings and before our intellectual, judging mind kicks in, our senses are already taking in the way a space feels as soon as we arrive. We are affected by everything in the environs around us. Here on the Be Well Blog this week I am going to give you 7 strategies for creating a peaceful office space. (There are some affiliate links in this article from which you may purchase items which will yield a small commission to me)
#1 Right Lighting
Soft, broad spectrum or natural lighting whenever possible is important as opposed to the harshness of fluorescent bulbs. Depending on what direction your office windows are facing, you'll want to bring in the natural light while being careful with intensely bright sunlight. A 2014 Journal of Consumer Psychology research study found that the more intense the lighting, the more intense the participants' emotions were. Softer lighting lends to softer mood.
Soft sheer curtains can allow light in without being too bright. Light bulbs in lamps that emulate natural light can be very effective. You might add some candlelight too. Turn off overhead lighting and opt for soft and natural. Salt Lamps are one of my favorite ways to bring in an element of peaceful lighting to my office space.
#2 Cue the Tunes to Soothe
Stanford University researchers (Symposium press release 2006) have said that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication." They noted that music is something that almost anybody can access and makes it an easy stress reduction tool. Harold Russell, Ph.D. said, ""If we ultimately speed up or slow down the brainwave activity, then it becomes much easier for the brain to shift its speed as needed."
Consider Native American or Celtic songs with a soothing slow sound or play lists often heard in spas. These days it's easy and inexpensive to have a blue-tooth speaker hidden in a corner connected to your wireless device playing Spotify or Pandora creating an immediately peaceful vibe in your office.
#3 Subtle Soft and Natural Scents
I've been utilizing essential oils since 1997. I like to keep it subtle and choose soft all natural scents in my office to which everyone who visits responds positively. Take a look at essential oil options and choose earthy scents from trees for grounding or a serenity blend proven to elicit a relaxation response.
#4 Calming Colors
Pale yellows that remind you of a vanilla or lemon custard or butter are calming colors that perfect for rooms that could use a little brightness while soft blues are calming, nurturing, and soothing color found to reduce stress and anxiety. Olive green, tan, and wood elements can be brought into your room or office to emulate the calming effects of a spa.
#5 Indoor Plants
Bring some of the outdoors indoors with beautiful potted plants. They will clean the air and lend to an environment that mimics Nature, lending to a soothing, nurturing experience in your office. Pot those plants with love in beautiful planters and place them strategically on window sills, atop book shelves and on your coffee table.
#6 Simple Minimalist Design
After having traveled and stayed in some of the most spa-like hotels and modern lodges the past few years, I've been noticing those that have very simple, minimalistic decor and soft fabrics are the most peace inducing. Cluttered surfaces can make a space feel chaotic. Keep it simple for the sake of serenity in your office space.
#7 Meditate in Your Space
From my own experience, I have noticed when people enter a space where someone has been meditating regularly, they seem to feel the benefits of the peaceful activity that has been observed there. Practice meditation regularly in the same spot. Get yourself a really good meditation cushion and set up a special space for your meditation practice. Approach meditation with reverence and respect and deepen your connection to your inner-self. Research shows meditation has many positive effects on the brain and mood.
Bedrosian, T. A., & Nelson, R. J. (2017). Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits. Translational Psychiatry, 7(1), e1017–. http://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.262
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
Thoma, M. V., La Marca, R., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013). The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e70156. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0070156