Do you feel stressed beyond belief these days? You're not alone.
Day 5: Your Environment
In the original Detox Your Thoughts challenge, and in the book that bears its name, we discuss how your environment plays a major role in the development of habits—like how likely it is that you'll stick to your new workout plan.
Today, instead, we're going to talk about how your environment influences your anxiety, moment to moment. Let's start by imagining a place where you feel most calm.
Perhaps it's somewhere that really exists, or perhaps it's just a fantasy in your mind. What does it look like? Sound like? Is it full of clean lines and clear spaces? Is it in nature? Is it snuggly and cozy, bringing in all kinds of elements of hygge (even if you can't pronounce it?)
Now, think about how different that place is from the place that you spend most of your time, at work or at home.
How can you bridge that gap?
It can also be helpful to think of your favorite space in your real-life home, and your least favorite space. What are the qualities of each?
Maybe it's a matter of carving out a comfy little oasis in your living room that serves as a reading nook or a place where you can have tea. Maybe it means bringing some houseplants into your bedroom. Or perhaps it means finally clearing off your desk of all the piles of paper and bills that make you stressed and antsy every time you sit down there.
When you look around at the environment where you devote a lot of your time, you must ask yourself—is my environment working for me, or against me? Is it soothing my anxiety, or adding to it?
This is not to say that your home has to be Pinterest-worthy or perfect. Instead, focus on the qualities of your environment that are most soothing to you. Maybe there are certain textures, or smells, or colors that you know help calm your brain and quiet your racing thoughts. Maybe there's a certain vibe of décor that puts you in a clearer headspace.
It's not about revamping your whole place. But often, uncomfortable spaces can be a distraction that adds to the drumbeat of our nerves, fraying our edges. Clutter is associated with increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, probably at least in part because it reminds us of tasks left undone.
There is no magic formula for what works and what doesn't in terms of your environment. One person's calming aromatherapy is enough to give someone else a migraine. So, pay close to attention to what things feel like to you.
List some of the qualities that you have noticed from the exercise above that represent a calming space for you.
List some of the qualities that you've noticed that go directly against that, or stress you out in the moment.
Name three little things that you can change about a space where you spend a lot of your time, in order to make it work toward lessening your anxiety.
Do you know someone who would love our Guide to Overcoming Anxiety?