A little stress in life is totally normal. In small doses, stress can even be beneficial. The right kind of stress can motivate you to meet professional or personal challenges, increase your productivity and give your creativity a boost.
But you don’t want stress to be a constant companion, especially inside your own home. Too much stress can become mentally and physically toxic. More than 70% of people in the United States report that they regularly experience negative physical or psychological symptoms caused by excessive stress.
What better way to build a haven from stress in your life than to keep a peaceful home? Here are some easy ways to get started.
Reduce the Visual Noise Around You
Clutter is one of the biggest stressors in many homes. (There’s a reason, after all, that Marie Kondo’s methods have gained such a cult following!) Clutter can come in varying forms, from dirty dishes and unfolded laundry to an excess of knickknacks and mismatched patterns. All of it creates visual “noise” that can be emotionally disconcerting and leave you feeling distracted, which is exactly how many people feel when they’re stressed.
Organizing your possessions, putting everything in their respective places and getting rid of extra “stuff” that you don’t want or need can rapidly reduce the clutter in your home and produce a more relaxed environment.
Simplify the Color Scheme in Your Home
Using a limited color scheme in each room can also reduce visual clutter and create an easy, relaxed mood. You don’t have to turn everything gray or beige but try to limit color schemes in any given room to two or three (at most) for a coordinated and calm visual effect.
For an extra-calming power, consider using a shade of blue, purple or green as your accent color on top of your neutrals. Those three colors are considered particularly “cool” and restful by the majority of people. Shy away from patterns in your decor which can be distracting, and focus on using texture and shading to provide interest.
Let a Little Light Shine in Your Life
Light has a significant effect on human moods. Think how differently you feel, for example, under the harsh glare of a supermarket’s fluorescent lights compared to how you feel when you’re sitting in a cozy cafe with lots of natural light coming through the windows.
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Natural light has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, so leverage that to your benefit at home. Make an effort to pull back those curtains and open up your blinds daily. Where you can, install a few floor or table lamps with halogen bulbs, which are a close approximation of natural light, in any dark corners.
Concentrate on a Few Simple Luxuries
A few luxurious accents can help make any room into a retreat from the rest of the world. Colored candles in an uncomplicated scent like vanilla or lavender, blankets or throws made from a soft material and textured pillows can help complement the peacefulness of a room.
Small luxuries like these encourage everyone — residents and guests alike — to sit down, relax and be comfortable in a home. They quietly convey your appreciation for a simple, uncomplicated existence.
Bring a Bit of the Outside Inside with You
Nature has wonderful restorative properties. Spending some time outdoors can relieve stress and be emotionally healing for many people. But, not everyone has easy access to the woods, a park or even a backyard.
A few potted plants, however, can let you bring nature inside your home. There are numerous, inexpensive varieties — like spider plants, aloe, several varieties of ficus and pothos — that grow well with little maintenance. They’re perfect even for small apartments (and might also encourage you to remember to keep those blinds open).
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Keep Electronics and Noise to a Minimum
Electronic devices like your cellphone, computer and television are part of the modern age — but they can also create a lot of stress. It can be hard to think serene thoughts when you’re being bombarded with the news on the television and you can’t go five minutes without hearing the chime of your messages.
One way to combat the encroachment of electronics on your life (and your mood), is to confine them to one or two areas in your house. If you have the space, consider designating one room in your house for electronics and keeping the computer, your phone and your television in that room.
Another way to quiet things down is to set your television to a music channel, turn off the ringer on your phone and tuck your laptop away. Your mind and spirit may both appreciate the break from being constantly “connected.”
Make Ample Use of Small Storage Items
Storage devices can help you keep ordinary daily clutter under control — and capable of being tucked out of sight on a moment’s notice. A basket by the table can collect mail that might otherwise end up on the dining room table. A rolling file cabinet can hold bills and other important papers and be pushed back into a closet when it isn’t needed.
Keeping paperwork and other documents out of sight when you aren’t ready to deal with them can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and distracted when you’re trying to relax.
Make Your Home a Place of Peace
If you can’t escape stress inside your own home, where can you? Creating a peaceful, inviting atmosphere inside your residence can help you drop your stress outside the door — where it belongs!