Curate Your Own Calm

  1. Decorate with organic earth tones. Give your eyes a break from aggressive, loud colors that cause irritation. 
  2. Try ambient music playlists instead of hard charging radio with commercials. Be mindful of what you put into your head, as it subconsciously affects your mood that comes out. 
  3. Keep the television off or limited to positive shows. Everything we experience, including movies, has energy that lingers in our spirit and then we wonder why we're feeling anxious.
  4. Go explore an outdoor landscape. If you allow yourself to focus on the small details, like how the leaves grow in patterns or the textures of bark winding around a tree trunk, then you allow yourself to experience the benefits of biophilia. 
  5. Make something meaningful with your hands. When we participate in an activity in which our creative side is engaged, we are performing a meditative practice. Through this we are keeping the brain occupied with executive function but also relaxed with repetitive motion.
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      Integrate Tactile Elements

      If everything in our setting is smooth to the touch, our ability to perceive the world around us is hindered. That's why texture is so important in our built environments. Earth elements that can be held and touched activate our senses and provide an instrument for building awareness. The more conscious we are in our physical experiences, the more responsive we can be in our emotional ones. In this regard, the way our spaces make us feel should always be paramount to the way our spaces look. To learn more styling tips you can implement in your own space to support mental health, check out my photo-rich book, Designing For Wellness.

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      Ease Into The Season

      Surround me with weathered wood and waving grass, and I immediately find my center. I didn’t always know this about myself — that natural materials had this calming effect on me. Like most people, I spent a large part of my life in urban settings with digital devices, filling my brain with one distracting activity after another. It’s crazy how we do this to ourselves, as if all that commotion is going to somehow make our lives better or more fulfilling. But deep down we know this overstimulation is destructive, and we’re all craving some distance from the chaos.  - Listen to that urge. - If we can’t go to the country to give ourselves an earth-minded immersion, then it’s time we bring that kind of grounding experience to us. We start by gathering found objects from outdoors and decorating with them indoors. These subtle visuals of nature’s slow, patient process will remind us to be slow and patient with ourselves. And that alone can do wonders for our well-being. 
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      Gratitude Soothes The Mind

      Today I’m thinking about the importance of gratitude — not as a cliche during the holiday —  but more as a tool for healing. The act of being thankful for any experience is especially helpful when we’re feeling defeated or facing unbearable loss. It’s through this practice that we learn to see silver linings and redirect our mental state to a place that’s capable of attracting positive outcomes. I like to start with the simple things — a warm blanket, a solid hug, and raw banter that makes me laugh out loud. Whenever I approach my life with an appreciation of these most basic experiences, I remember how little I really need to be happy. Then I consider the more complex aspects, like my natural born gifts as a benefit to others and the ability to channel love no matter how broken I may be. Giving thanks doesn’t always need to be a grand public effort in order to be rewarding. It just needs to mean something significant in our minds.

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      Slow Living

      Have you ever walked into a space and immediately felt uncomfortable without knowing why? Although a built environment may feature all the latest trends, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was created with our well-being in mind. Designing in a way the supports the psyche requires a sixth sense about what agitates our nerves. It also requires a knowledge of what simple interior elements can be the antidote. Thankfully, that’s one superpower of having an ADHD brain. I live in a rapid-fire state of processing every waking minute, but I use this awareness to employ various tactics to help me slow down my racing thoughts. Over the past several years I began to write down the methods that worked for me, especially those related to the space I live in. These calm-inducing design practices became the basis for my new book Designing For Wellness, and anyone can try them.
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