Turn Your Environment into a Mood Enhancer
Welcome back to today’s lesson—using your environment to improve your mood.
How’s your mood right now? Whether it’s good or not, stop reading and do something to give it a boost. Eat some fresh fruit. Stand up and stretch. Go into a quiet room, sit, and focus on your breathing.
Better? Good. Let’s look at your environment.
Noise Is Pervasive and Insidious
You are subjected to a constant barrage of sound.
While it’s easy to ignore traffic sounds or the hum of the HVAC system, your brain can’t. Even if you don’t consciously notice a noise, your brain does. It evolved to pay attention and interpret sounds as either good or bad, safe, or dangerous. Does it require a fight or flight?
This constant vigilance puts your brain and body under stress. This, in turn, affects your mood without you being aware of it. If you suddenly feel irritable and cranky and can’t figure out why, pay attention to the noise in your environment.
The remedy is silence. It allows the brain to rest and gives it time to process and evaluate information in peace and quiet. This lowers the fight-or-flight neurochemicals and allows them to dissipate.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” —Blaise Pascal
You might not be able to escape noise where you work or live, but you can take action to mitigate its impact on your body and mood:
• Arrange your schedule to allow for pockets of silent time.
• Take out the earbuds, remove the earphones, and turn off the music, email notification, phone, television, game—everything that makes a noise.
• Find a quiet place and hide out for a five- to ten-minute silence break.
• Let your brain and body rest from the constant bombardment of sound.
Color Your Mood Mellow Yellow
Color influences every aspect of your life. Brand marketers use color in the design of everything you buy from dish soap to cosmetics to toilet paper. Color can drag down your mood or lift it up; it can rev your energy or leave you feeling bored.
Red and violet colors boost your energy and mood, so use them in areas like your office or workout area. You don’t have to paint an entire room red; just one wall. If that’s not possible, add touches of red or purple.
Green and yellow colors remind you of nature, sunshine, and green fields. They help you feel more upbeat and peaceful. Choose hues that appeal to you emotionally.
Blue is the color of the sea and sky, and it is relaxing and soothing. Use it in areas like the bedroom or bath. Create a blue nook in your office where you can take a stress break when work starts getting to you.
Turn Out the Lights
How many hours a day are you under lights, natural or artificial? At least eight to ten hours working, plus the lights at home, at the gym, in a restaurant. Generally, the only time you are in darkness is bedtime, and then you have the lights from the digital clock, your phone, and street lighting. You are bombarded with light, and while a certain amount of light is necessary for good health and a good mood, too much of a good thing can be bad.
Your body cycle evolved with the sun. According to the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California at Davis, an adequate amount of light improves mood and energy levels, but poor lighting or too much light contributes to depression and bodily problems.
Researchers recommend brighter, stronger lighting for mornings and day and the use of dimmer lights for the night. The best lighting for sleeping is no lights at all, so cover the digital reading, turn off your phone, and consider blackout drapes for the bedroom.
For a quick mood fix, go into a room with no windows and turn off the light for five or ten minutes. You will immediately feel more relaxed and less stressed.
1. Take silence breaks at least once a day, preferably in a dark room.
2. Stuck in a drab office or cube? Print out some colorful images that evoke positive moods and decorate your workspace.
3. Use colorful clothing to moderate your mood throughout the day. If you’re delivering an important presentation, try a red scarf or tie for high energy and an enthusiastic mood. If you suspect that the day will be stressful, choose a soft blue sweater or shirt.
Tomorrow is your last lesson, where you will gain a few final tools to help you improve your mood as you go throughout the day. Until then, have a good-mood day.
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