What elements of your environment make you feel alive? Which ones hold you back?
The human body is incredible. Our ability to perceive our world through our five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell) enhances our experience in profound ways; some work for us to create momentum and inspiration and others work against us, creating chaos, stress and anxiety.
Generally, when we think about living a life that is encouraged and encourages others we focus primarily on our relationships with others, but what about our relationship with our world and the elements that we come in contact with on a daily basis? How does your atmosphere, the objects that make it up and what you interact with (music, food, products, clothing… etc.) affect who you are and the course of your day, week or year?
A few months back I wrote a post, “Live To Be Inspired – Part 3 – Engaging Environment,”and in it I explored how our environment can be either a facilitator or inhibitor of living an engaged life, fully aware and alive. In it I shared how I went about creating my office space; the place I spend a good portion of my time during the day with either clients or writing.
Creating a space that stimulates my creativity and ignites feelings of being alive, present, engaged, refreshed, at ease and cheerful is top priority for me. From artwork, to decorations, paint colors, scents, natural light and soothing music, each piece or element works to enhance my space and create a sense of calm, purpose, inspiration and comfort– drawing on the five senses to not only create a space, but an experience.
Atmosphere – one of DEFINE’s spheres of influence is made up of sights, sounds and materials that enhance your experience and helps to inspire and facilitate results; thoughtful environments designed to be energizing while maintaining a soothing balance.
What makes up your atmosphere? And how does it affect your life, mood, relationships and goals? Taking the time to evaluate all five of your senses while in your natural environment at work, at home, with friends, where you work out, like to eat, shop, travel, etc., will help you find the right balance of energizing and calming elements to not only elevate your experience with your world, but also enhance your mood and inspire positive movement towards the dreams, goals and desires that you have.
All too often small things stand in our way of progress and feeling motivated – small things like excess clutter, negative relationships, the absence of natural light and a poor diet lacking in nutritional content.
Try this exercise to wake up your senses by creating a list of moments you feel most alive, grounded, energized and free.
1) Write out your answers in a place you can access easily and will not lose.
2) Thinking about your day, list the places you spend the most time.
3) Separate each place and in thinking about the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell) write out what makes you feel the most alive. It can be short and sweet or you can elaborate as much as you want.
4) Similarly, write out what inhibits you, drains you, creates boredom and frustration. What just doesn’t feel good? Your commute, cubical, the color of your bedroom walls or crowded grocery stores. Does your office lack natural light, are you around food choices that are packed with simple sugars and lacking in nutritional content?
5) Once you have the list, rate each element on a 1-10 scale, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest rank for how affected you are by it, positively or negatively for the respective lists.
6) Identify which ones you ranked the highest and create a plan to either reduce it or increase it – meaning, if your office cubical creates stress and frustration and you ranked it an 8.5 with regards to how much it affects you, try using an element from your list of positives (your garden view – bring plants that do not require natural light to enhance your space and remind you of your love for the outdoors) to see if you can incorporate something that will reduce your stress to a 7 or 6. The idea isn’t that you have to eliminate it altogether because that isn’t always realistic, however, believing that you are stuck or unable to introduce relief is a misconception.
Creating lasting change that invites positivity and energizes who you are from the inside out will ignite a ripple effect throughout your life. Relationships and authentic connections definitely help encourage and inspire our best selves, however, what we see, feel, taste, smell and hear also plays an integral role; one that will not only contribute to our own personal wellbeing but to the wellbeing of those around us.
Also- If you’re unsure where to start, check out Erin Stewart’s monthly DEFINE foods workshops for a tasty experience from which you’re sure to walk away feeling energized and eager to implement in your nutritional routine. Taking care of the body with food not only prevents illness, fatigue and other major medical conditions, it also helps balance out hormones and digestive issues that contribute to our mood and quality of life.
DEFINE’s Emotional Wellness Expert, Jessica Pass, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Instructor at DEFINE body&mind. She has a private practice in Houston, Texas, specializing with children, adolescents, individuals, couples and parents. Jessica’s approach incorporates mind-body integration, education and practical strategies to improve emotional wellness, emphasizing all aspects of who we are to live fully and thrive in our relationships.