By Kathryn Weber
A recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that there has been a dramatic increase in suicide among US teens, particularly teen girls, whose suicides rates roughly doubled between the years of 2007 and 2015. This 50% increase is merely a reflection of what many people today are coping with: depression. The bedfellow for depression? Hopelessness.
Both of these are symptomatic with societal ills such as stress, anxiety, disconnection, and lack of a positive feeling for what the future holds.
Many times, depression and hopelessness can be rooted in a lack of purpose or fulfillment. And, at one time or another, almost everyone has experienced some sort of despondency, whether through health worries, relationship or job difficulties or problems that seem insurmountable. I know I have gone through my own low periods. A period of the blues that lingers, though, is unhealthy.
A despondent outlook can often show up in our homes.
The home of a depressed person may depict outward signs of internal struggles. There may be excess shopping, a lack of cleaning, unmade beds, isolating, dark interiors, or clutter. There are often signs of maintenance issues, such as dripping faucets, dead plants, or peeling paint.
Can feng shui help? Yes, especially when combined with other efforts such as diet, socializing, connecting with nature and finding things to do that you enjoy.
Your eyes take in the world, and when you see your dark home with unmade beds, a sink full of dirty dishes, and dead plants by the front door, this can serve to reinforce a depressed state of mind and feeling of hopelessness.
Here are 8 ways to use feng shui to lift your home’s energy and improve your feeling of happiness and help you to feel hopeful again.
1. Start every day strong.
One of my favorite shows was Downton Abbey. I loved how it showed the house come alive in the mornings. The fires were lighted, the curtains thrown open and sunlight streamed in. The cleaning and cooking began in earnest, and bells rang when breakfast was being served or requested.
Take a cue from this TV show and start your day strong. Get going by establishing a set time to get up and getting a start on the day. Try getting up earlier and having coffee or tea leisurely. Open the curtains, read a newspaper or your tablet.
Next, get dressed. Do your hair, put on make-up and look your best, even if you’re staying at home. When you look better, you feel better. Once you’re dressed, make your bed, and open the curtains in your bedroom.
Go to the kitchen and make yourself breakfast, do the dishes and put them away when you’re done. A strong start to the day is a good way to shape your mind in a positive direction. And then at the end of the day, you’ll be getting into a made bed. That always feels better.
2. Unstick your home’s chi.
Energy in your home can get stuck, and that can cause you to feel stuck in your life. Look around your house to where your clutter zones are. Maybe it’s a stack of mail you haven’t gotten around to sorting. Clear off the tops of your kitchen counters, tackle any piles you have around the house, such as piles of clothes in the closet, or bathroom counters that you can’t see because there’s so much stuff.
One way we feel stuck is when our eyes have no room to roam. Picking up rugs, cluttered counter tops and piles, will help speed up our home’s chi and lift your spirits by giving your eyes open space. Your eyes are a fire element, and smothering from clutter and lack of visual space, can literally “put your fire out.” The eyes and heart and connected – that’s how we fall in love, right? Give your eyes some space and your heavy heart will get a lift.
3. Lift your burden.
Our homes are the repository of our lives. The happiest – and the saddest – moments are often contained in them. Yet, many homes are houses of pain. They hold the wedding dress you wore but kept even after your divorce, they hold the clock from your grandmother who has passed but stopped working years ago, or maybe it’s the ashes of pets or loved ones you can’t part with.
Whatever brings your energy down, does not belong in your home. Learn to let go of old obligations to things that lower your energy and serve as reminders of what or what didn’t happen in your life. I give you permission to throw them away, donate them, or put them on the curb with a sign that says free.
4. See things differently.
Too often we get in a rut in our lives because our homes look the same all the time. The picture over the sofa is always over the sofa. When you need a different picture for your life, change the pictures in your home. Take them all down and then one by one begin putting them in a different place. This will force you to see your home – and your life – in a completely different way and help you out of a visual rut. Remember, our eyes and hearts are connected.
5. Watch for water.
Water is the element of sadness, depression and hopelessness. When there is depression, there is often an excess of water. That could be symbolized by a dripping faucet, a running toilet, or even too much blue or dark colors. If there is any water that pools or an area of your yard that stays wet, this can cause your energy to lower. Look around for dark colors, dark rooms, and sources of water or wetness. A good place to look is under bathroom and kitchen sinks. You may not even know you have a leak until you look for one. Get it fixed to help stop the drip, drip, drip of sadness.
6. Add movement, light, and sound.
Feeling depressed can sometimes be alleviated by movement. Turn on fans, a TV, or your stereo with some happy music playing. Getting movement going, can get your chi going, and that’s good for your heart and spirit! Don’t forget about turning on lighting. Realtors know that during a showing, every light in the house should be turned on (there’s that fire element again!). This lifts the energy of the house – and a home with lifted energy is one that’s appealing to the owners and buyers.
Keep the light on in the foyer and the living room. Another important area for lighting? The kitchen. This room represents fire and it should never be allowed to go out. Add a small lamp that you keep turned on night and day, or a small night light on, so that the fire element is always present.
Make a daily practice of ringing a bell in your home to help clear stuck, stagnant energies. Sound cuts through old energies. Start every day ringing a bell at your front door, going in a clockwise direction, and then coming back to the door. Encircle the door three times with the bell and you will have cleared and energized your home.
7. Connect with nature.
Make sure all your houseplants are healthy and lush. Look around your yard for any shrubs that have grown over the windows and cut them back. Dirty or overgrown windows will make your outlook suffer, so keep these clean and plants trimmed.
Try planting a small garden or add a pot or two of flowers to a porch. Make it a point to buy fresh cut flowers each week to give your home a touch of nature.
Endeavor to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors a day, even if that’s just taking a walk so you can observe the trees, the sky, birds, and the natural world to help you reconnect yourself to nature. Better still, exposure to sunlight helps improve your outlook. Many of the happiest places are ones that are sunlight-filled, such as Hawaii. Make sure you spend time outdoors, get your Vitamin D levels checked, and get some sunshine chi daily.
8. Brighten and lighten up.
If you have dark or watery colors on the walls and furniture, try lightening up your home with a coat of bright paint. Sunshine or lemon yellow, bright white with colorful accents or furniture with light-colored upholstery can help brighten your home and lighten your mood. Bright colors are known mood enhancers so pick some vibrant shades to enliven your home.