Why Our Spaces Affect Our Wellness
We spend so much time working on, toning and balancing our bodies and making sure we eat all the right foods and vitamins. We also work with coaches and therapists to develop our minds and soul. But rarely are we including our spaces in the health and wellness equation. Our homes, communities and environments affect our daily motivations, behaviours and lifestyle and these in turn determine 80-90% of our health outcomes. So why isn’t anyone focusing on how offices, stores, our homes and even transportation hubs are designed (hello, Penn Station!)?
How Our Spaces Affect Us
Our spaces and in particular our homes represent security. Without the basic need of shelter being met, it’s hard to even function in life. How can you get a good night’s sleep and show up prepared for a meeting the next day if you don’t have a place to call home? This is the most basic way in which space affects us.
From there, let’s assume that you have a home but it’s run down and things aren’t working properly. This could expose you to toxic materials which in turn create sickness and mental disorders such as ADHD in young children (with lead in particular). If things aren’t properly built or installed it can lead to accidents. So it’s providing you with basic shelter and giving you a place to sleep, but is also creating a whole other set of problems.
Let’s go back to the example of the meeting. After a good night’s sleep, you are definitely better prepared for it, but the space is still not supporting you in a way that helps you be at your best. Maybe as a result of the condition of your home, humidity is high, leading to mold and dampness which creates sickness. Or your heating doesn’t work which makes it hard to sleep and leaves you prone to sickness. In this case, you’re showing up for your meeting, but not in the best physical or mental headspace. Beyond that, maybe the paint on the walls is crumbling, you have no access to natural light and the room is poorly lit with a fluorescent bulb. All of these things are putting you down instead of lifting you up. You might feel tired, depressed and hopeless.
Potentializing Our Spaces
Now let’s fast forward to a home that not only provides shelter, has heat and hot water, but that is made of good, non-toxic materials. It has access to natural light and fresh air and a lot of thought has gone into furniture, art and décor. Think about how you’re going to show up for your meeting now? Like night and day from the first scenario.
Intentionality about the layout and flow of your home or office along with furniture, décor and art selections help you go from simply surviving, to thriving. Author of Beauty, Neuroscience and Architecture: Timeless Patterns and Their Impact on Our Well-Being writes, “If you recognize the geometry and colors of a pattern, then the ancient brain starts the emotion-to-feeling cycle that results in a sense of well-being. This applies to all visual arts, including interior design and architecture. If the pattern of a space is readily understandable, then the ancient brain signals that it is stress-free and approachable. The result is an improved brain wave coherence—a physiological state very similar to a meditation session.”
As a space empath (someone that is almost overly in tune with the energy of a space), I instantly can tell if a space feels good or doesn’t. I have even been in meetings in certain offices where I begin to get headaches if the space or energy in a space is off. I have no way of explaining this so it thrills me to know that there is now a science- neuroaesthetics, the study of how the mind processes and responds to beauty and art that can quantify this response to our environments. My hope is that as this information becomes more mainstream that people will realize the importance of our spaces, how they affect us, and incorporate a better and healthier approach to them as part of their wellness strategies- subway stations included :).
The Beyond Spaces Consult
If you’re feeling stuck, anxious or having problems sleeping and feeling less than enamored with your space, check out our 2 hour in person or virtual Holistic Interior Design consult here. After the consult and implementing the Rx we provide you can expect to feel a sense of renewed energy and inspiration, that things are flowing again, a sense of peace and calm along with more awareness and insight into any issues you may be having in your life. For additional information or any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gala Magriñá Design works with Clients that understand the importance of creating a beautiful space and want to work with a no-nonsense design team that is able to clearly chart the best way forward. What separates our approach from other designers is our extensive knowledge of how people live and how best to create customized spaces that nurture that. We aim to merge cool and beautiful interiors with a holistic, mindful and intuitive approach to design that results in powerful, healthy spaces that elevate and transform people’s lives. For more information please visit www.galamagrinadesign.com.