Living in a Stress-Free Environment
Written by Amy Roper (last updated August 23, 2013)
Have you ever tried to concentrate on an important assignment only to find yourself distracted by a cluttered desk, a constantly ringing phone, or your own anxieties about various other facets of life? Often we forget how much our surroundings affect us, and an unfriendly environment can lead to unproductivity, poor performance, and personal stress. Here are a few tips to creating a stress-free environment:
- De-clutter. Keeping clear, open space around you can directly correlate with clear, open thinking. If you have a designated space to work, like a desk, keep the surface clear whenever possible; put small, cluttery things in drawers or on shelves. Beyond your desk, keep your room clean and clutter-free. This will not only create a pleasant work space, but will also keep you from that nagging feeling that you have more work to do every time you glance up to see undone dishes or laundry strewn about.
- A place for everything. Designate certain places for certain tasks: this chair for work, the bed for sleep, this cushion for relaxation. That way you automatically have an assigned role to enter for each task, which means that you won't feel as anxious about not working if you're in a spot designated for relaxation. Designating a bed only for sleep can also drastically improve your sleep patterns, which will help you feel more relaxed overall.
- Turn off technology. Not all the time—but just as you designate separate places for separate tasks, also set aside a period of time for no technology. You don't have to instantly respond to texts, phone calls, or emails—those texts, calls, and emails will still be there when you finish your brief period of focused relaxation.
- Appeal to the senses. Consider all your senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste, make sure your environment appeals to all of the senses. Soft lighting and colors like blue and green are relaxing to your eyes, while a pleasant candle or clean scent might appeal to your sense of smell. Listen to music that you personally find inspiring, whether it's relaxing classical or energizing hip hop. Comfortable furniture can appeal to your sense of touch, and a favorite (and healthy!) snack on hand can also keep you sane. Finally, try surrounding yourself with real plants to appeal to many senses; often having something green and growing in a room can be very de-stressing.
- Try something new. You might look into Feng Shui—a Chinese system of ideal room arrangement—or an ionizer meant to remove negative ions from the air. Often one small change can go a long way—de-stressing your environment will ultimately de-stress you.
You may not know for sure what that one thing is that will help prevent stress, try one of the different ways, and keep trying until you find the right stress reliever for you.