Ironically the day I was thinking about writing this was the day that I lost a key that I needed to open a box. It’s amazing how something so small can change your entire day.
It was frustrating not to know where I had left the one I thing I needed in that exact moment. I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to.
I must admit I like keeping my spaces clean and I don’t tend to accumulate things I don’t need. But sometimes the days pass between job and job and I’m not as tidy as I would like to be. Sometimes it also happens that I forget where I left some things…like that time with the crown, remember?
The truth is that having a mess can be very stressful, specially within your home. This goes beyond my experience, psychologically living and working in messy places can have negative effects in our life.
According to psychologist and stress expert, Sherrie Bourg Carter:
- A mess can impact our mind because it sends an excess of stimuli—visual, tactile, olfactory—that isn’t necessary or important and can actually distract us.
- Relaxing is harder when there is a mess around because it sends a signal to our brain that the work is not done.
- It makes us feel guilty about not being more organized, something that with repetition can affect our self-esteem.
- While open spaces can help us think and be creative, cramped spaces can block out the capacity of thinking freely.
One of the most ancient practices and philosophies about order comes from China and its called feng shui. The theory is basically that the energetic forces of a space can be used and changed to allow people to find harmony with their surroundings.
Feng shui is based around the idea of an energy that gives life to all things on Earth called ‘chi’. When ‘chi’ energy is blocked in your space, you feel blocked. When that energy moves quickly, its benefits are lost. In order for your house to have good feng shui, the ‘chi’ must be able to move with fluidity and ease.
This philosophy has certain recommendations in how best to arrange spaces and decoration. Some simple ones are: not having mirrors near doors, avoid giving your back to a door when you sit on a desk and keeping spaces that you can’t see clean, like closets or drawers, so that energy may flow freely.
I’m not an expert on this. But far beyond taking this teachings as a set of rules, I see it this way: there’s an energy (or vibration) that moves around the spaces we live or work in. When that energy is blocked it affects us. The key is to find ways to arrange the space so you may feel at ease with your environment.
“As individuals we feed ourselves with many things. The activities we do feed us. The things we watch feed us. Everything is information for our nervous system. All that we consume with our eyes, our ears, our everywhere, can affect us for good or bad,” explains Natalia Chaparro, coach in holistic nutrition for women.
The saying ‘clean house, clean mind’ teaches us that our house is a mirror to our mind. When we are sad or stressed everything can feel messier and when everything is messier, we feel more stressed out. It’s a vicious cycle. Hence the importance of being conscious about what is “feeding” us in the places that surround us.
At the end, it’s our responsibility to take charge of our feelings and part of that, especially within our house, is to adjust what isn’t working. Do it through feng shui, pure intuition or following Marie Kondo’s instructions, doesn’t matter, the thing here is to develop conscious ways to care for our spaces.
Fill up your home with what fills you up with peace and belonging. Clean what is dirty. Give away or donate what you won’t use. Do the exercise of looking around, of feeling and identifying what is working and what isn’t. Be conscious of your space and everything that feeds you.
This is the mindset I want to have when it comes to taking care of my house and my mind.
Now I want to hear your advice, in what other ways can you keep your mind neat?
Photo by: Camilo Villabona