Relieve Stress with These 8 Tips for Creating a Mindful Space in the Home

By: Kealia Reynolds
Photo by Autumn Studio

Mindfulness helps improve concentration, reduces ruminative thinking that contributes to high levels of stress, helps us understand our emotions in healthy ways, and even bolsters our immune systems. By creating a mindful space in the home, we can keep stress and anxiety levels down and live an overall healthier life. Here are eight tips to help you create a mindful space in the home.

1. Set an intention

Before creating a mindful space, one of the first things you should do is set an intention. If you make mindfulness a goal instead of an intention, you create a rift between what you’re experiencing in the current moment and what you would like to happen. With an intention, there’s no required result and no pressure to achieve a goal. Intending to practice awareness or focusing on your breathing are two intentions that you can set for yourself.

2. Go big (or small) with your space

You don’t need to dedicate an entire room to mindfulness—maybe you choose a sunny corner in your living room or a small table in your kitchen. “You could devote an entire room to meditation or just a corner of a room,” says Joy Rains, author of Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind. Rains offers the following examples as ways to achieve mindfulness in your existing space:

  • Carve out a small space in your basement or laundry room. Installing adhesive floor tiles and a sliding translucent screen for an outer wall can transform this nook into a sacred space.
  • Transform a bedroom corner into a private meditation space by using a sheer curtain as a divider.
  • Use a favorite chair in the living room.

When creating a space for meditation and mindfulness, prioritize somewhere you can be quiet and won’t be disturbed, like a tucked-away reading nook or walk-in closet. According to Laura Sage, co-founder and CEO of CH/LL Meditation, even the smallest of homes can provide nooks of privacy (at least during specific times of the day). “Your meditation space should be your own space,” says Sage. Remember: your intention for creating a regular meditation place is more important than the actual size of the space.

3. Declutter and organize

According to researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CLEF), cluttered environments are tied to higher levels of stress. Annie Draddy, co-founder of Henry & Higby, a professional organization company, has seen first-hand the positive impact that the process of decluttering and organizing spaces has had on her clients. “Finding ‘homes’ for things so that they are no longer cluttering up surfaces helps to create a clean and clear space which in turn makes the home more tranquil.”

Declutter your space by organizing your stuff into three piles: one for keeping, one for donating, and one for throwing away. Get rid of things you haven’t used in a year and store small items like notepads and pencils in bins or boxes to reduce the look of clutter.

4. Eliminate distractions

If you live in a noisy area, add a white noise machine to your space to block out unwanted sounds or consider soundproofing your apartment with a plush rug or draft blocker. “While we should all be able to meditate with ambient noise, for newbies, the less noise the better,” says Sage. Pare down on technology, especially items like laptops, tablets, and cell phones that can ruin energy flow and bring work and stress into your space. According to Kita Williams, CEO and lead designer at KMW Interiors, a California-based home staging and interior design company, TV should be limited to one place in the home, like the family or living room.

5. Increase natural light

A dark environment can cause you to dwell on mistakes you’ve made in the past, interrupting your intention to stay focused on the present. “Having good natural light tends to make you more aware of where you are and what needs to be done now,” says Williams. Draw curtains in your space to let in more natural light. If you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home, outfit it with good lighting. If you find dark spaces more relaxing, opt for candles or lamps that provide mood lighting—a 10-watt LED bulb and a warm-toned lampshade should do the trick.

6. Choose calming colors

Calming colors like pink, light grey, lavender, and light shades of blue should be in places where you intend to be more mindful. Neutral colors like whites, creams, and soft beiges can also help create a calming space. “The bedroom is a great place for such colors,” says Williams. “However, it’s up to you where you feel you need to have calming colors in the home. Everyone is different, but the effect of the use of these colors is the same.” Add a neutral-toned throw blanket or soft cushions to your space for a more relaxing and cozy feel.

7. Use natural elements

Being in nature releases the tension in our bodies and allows us to breathe more deeply. Facilitating a mindful outdoor space can therefore play an integral role in the feeling and creation of relaxation. “Being outside is an automatic mood changer,” says Williams. “Getting out into the fresh air and sitting for a moment is a great way to increase mindfulness. Anything that gives you a feeling that you’re out in nature and part of the earth really helps to bring you to the present.”

Molly Wood of Molly Wood Garden Design, a landscape design studio, recommends having a fountain with soft water noises to calm the nerves and relay a feeling of wellbeing. “A comfortable invitation to relax in the form of a hammock, daybed, or chaise lounge can also contribute to a feeling of wellness,” says Wood. If you don’t have an outdoor space to utilize, bring natural elements inside your home by surrounding yourself with plants.

8. Personalize your space

While it’s recommended that you go the minimalist route when decorating your space for mindfulness (this decorating style helps avoid distractions and allows you to pay closer attention to your surroundings), you can still include a few personalized items that inspire you and bring you peace. J.A. Plosker, author of the multi-award-winning book, The Nobody Bible: Uncovering the Simple Wisdom in Ordinary Life, recommends putting up a shelf and filling it with simple items. “Maybe you lean a picture of a sandy expanse of beach on it and place a shell that you’ve collected. Or perhaps it’s one green plant that you must tend to every day. No matter what else is happening in your home, that space is a dedicated reminder of what you want to create inside.”

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