When you are trying to beat depression, the effort to make over anything may seem unthinkable. But if you are unhappy with your environment, it can pull you down a lot further than if you were in a space you actually enjoy.
Curling up on a sofa you love, with maybe a good book or movie, is a far different experience than hiding out on a sofa you hate because you don’t feel you deserve anything better. Depression can make you want to bond with a beat up couch you think is ugly, because you feel ugly and beat up, too. Icky upholstery may look exactly how you feel.
Acknowledge what annoys you, and get it out of your life.
When you live with things that annoy you, you may be ignoring how much they bother you. But colors, open space and physical objects really do impact our emotions, and there is plenty of research to back us up.
If you like clean modern lines, country cluttered style probably makes you feel claustrophobic. If you find comfort surrounded by knick-knacks though, then minimalist rooms may make you so edgy you can’t sit down.
There is no right or wrong environment for battling your depression. But it can help to learn a few basics about what may affect you, and then determine what you like best.
Colors can soothe you, or make you nuts. Books abound about the psychology of color. Many are excellent, though the research can be contradictory, or fail to take cultural differences into account. It is worth comparing a few at your library. Advertisers and magazine covers use color psychology all the time. You might as well too. Here are some research trends from over the years:
Blue is generally ranked as a favorite color among people surveyed. Sky blue, as a particular shade, has been repeatedly tested and shown to be the most effective color to beat depression. Yet, some people hate blue. There is no accounting for taste.
Pink was tested with violent prison inmates in the 1970s, and proved to calm them down. Anti-pink protests claimed pink was a conspiracy to make little girls docile, and nurseries all over America turned yellow almost overnight.
Red is said to convey power. Note the obligatory power dress worn by women in Congress. But it can also convey anger and threat, so don’t use red paint where you sleep. In India red is the color or purity. Wedding dresses are red, the same way we use white.
Green, as the color most found in nature, can be restful and harmonious, except for the infamous “hospital green” which actually made people ill. Forest green with mahogany combine for a traditional design look of wealth and prestige.
Yellow was rated negatively by one study, as wishy-washy and feeble. But another study listed it sunny and happy. Fashion designers take the second view, as women happily wrap themselves in sunny yellow every spring. In the 1950s, most kitchens in America were yellow. It was like a law.
Orange never rates well, but is beloved by people who relish autumn and dislike blue.
The important thing is to combine a little color psychology know-how with your favorite shades, and have plenty of what you love all around you. Can’t afford to replace your sofa? Cover it with a pretty spread or slipcover, and add pillows in a coordinating shade.
Paint is one of the least expensive, most impactful things you can do for a room. After all, wherever you look, walls are there. If you love the forest, flowers, or the ocean, a little paint brings those colors into your room, and builds your sense of accomplishment.
Balance your rooms with Feng Shui. If you’ve ever practiced Tai Chi, or read much about Chinese medicine, then you are acquainted with the idea of Chi, the life energy that flows through all living things. When the flow of Chi is blocked, then illness, stress and depression occur. The same thing can happen in a room.
Do you dislike sitting in a restaurant with your back to the door? If so, then you know how uncomfortable sitting in the wrong place can feel. Feng Shui is a little like that. Some rooms make you instantly comfortable because of their materials and placement. Other rooms can distress you, without your knowing why.
One tenet of Feng Shui is the harmony of what are called the five main elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Every time we bring a houseplant into a grey, metallic office space, we exercise our instinctive need to have all those elements in our lives. Tabletop fountains, fireplaces, and copper pots, all reflect this balance ideal.
There is far more to Feng Shui than this brief mention, but plenty of books and websites can help you learn more.
Nesting is a natural habit. Birds do it, bees do it, building a space you love can help you beat depression, and help you feel in harmony with the world. Whenever you have a bad day, your home is there to welcome you, a testament to what you can create. Plus, it gets your mind off your depression, and your body off the couch.
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