Space And It's Effect On Our Wellbeing


Space And It's Effect On Our Wellbeing

Space, it means something different to everyone but in effect this can be achieved in different ways for different people. The concept of space and your needs can vary simply because of your personality, your fears, your creativity and even your environment can have an impact on your perception or needs. While it is subjective from person to person we often take our definition of space for granted and its effect on our wellbeing, especially when we have become used to it as it stands. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we crave space in various forms to facilitate aspects of our mental health and wellbeing including bolstering our resilience or coping abilities.

Physical space is often the first thought that comes to mind when referencing space in general. This is what we perceive with our sight, our hearing, our touch and even our sense of smell. Physical space is representative of our environment, such as wide open spaces, fresh air, light, creation of free space within a space and the use of space. It is accented by those who fear both small spaces and wide open space or by the need for room when panic sets in. The reason physical space impacts on our wellbeing is that for most their environment can somewhat reflect in your state of mind. In theory, if your environment is in chaos then so is your mind but it is more likely that a chaotic environment distracts your mind or conflicts with what makes you comfortable and therefore impacts on your wellbeing. This is often why those who suffer from certain mental health stressors such as anxiety tend to feel the need to clean, in order to exert control over their environment to help relieve this feeling...this is also something seen in those who are perfectionists or who fear germs. This is also not to say that if you have children and your house looks like a bomb has gone off frequently that this is a bad thing, it is important to understand that this can be a cause of stress if you were previously tidy.

Mentally, we also seek out space to think, to feel, to process or even just to be alone with ourselves to be at peace. This can take many forms and may just be reading a book, listening to music on a bus, a moment of quiet meditation or even as you exercise. It is important to carve out time, no matter how small to create space for us away from the demands of our everyday life. Often we seek to blend our Mental and Physical space by seeking out places that help us find our space mentally by connecting with physical space. This could be standing at a beach looking out over the ocean, a simple yet profound moment where you can experience physical space that allows you to connect to your mental space to actually think. Simple, yet effective, in providing an opportunity to improve your wellbeing. If you do not have these moments or do not make time to experience these moments of mental space then this can impact heavily on your wellbeing and allow factors like stress and fatigue to compound. Some of us need help finding this space and has created a need for meditation classes / workshops, exercise that blends the two like yoga or even the use of friends and family to create events that permit time or the environment to escape to your mental space.

So what is the first step in establishing healthy space in your life? It is important that you take time to establish healthy guidelines for your space that is defined by your needs and not the needs of others. By this, I do not mean your partner or your children, I mean it is important to define what you or you as a family or you as users of a space decide is needed and that you don't start subscribing to someone else's guidelines. Often people look to others that abide by a strict code such as those who adopt minimalism and while the concept isn't terrible, adopting someone else's paradigm / guidelines often prevents you from getting the outcome you need. It is about assessing your environment and determining if you have an abundance of clutter, lack of space, or lack of time allocated to finding space, identify how this impacts on your wellbeing and decide on a course of action that suits you, your circumstances, your expectations and realising that your space is yours...unless you rent or it is owned by someone else and then make sure you meet the expectations of the owner, your landlord / property manager. If you are struggling to start this process then for a moment, consider where you work, your environment, your space...take a moment and consider how it makes you feel. I hope I didn't lose you there because I am simply asking you if you noticed things in your environment that made you feel stressed, angry, negative and the list can go on...now think about it and is there any simple things you can change such as clutter, things you do not need or things that would make your environment more pleasant. The effect of simply changing your space can have a profound impact on our wellbeing and it can help bring some positivity with simple changes. Improving the quality of the air by opening doors or windows and improving lighting such as opening blinds or changing light globes to suit the environment can make a significant difference to your space. A cluttered desk can be distracting, impact on ergonomics, bring about demotivation, consume time looking for things and allow negativity to creep in. Sometimes, simply tidying your desk or rotating / moving furniture can change our perception of an environment and provide a feeling of more space which can immediately improve our mood. It is important that you approach this progressively and do not seek to radically change everything all at once as this can often lead to undesirable outcomes, start small and build from there (i.e. pick one room and take up meditating). Remember to account for mental space and whether you are taking time out for this as well rather than just focusing on your physical space.

If you think about it we are often encouraged to think about space with initiatives like Feng Shui, Six Sigma, Anti Hoarding TV Shows, Yoga...the list goes on but you see my point. This isn't really new to us, it has been presented in many ways and is a well acknowledged factor in our wellbeing. It is essential to recognise the impact that space has on us generically and specifically on our own personal wellbeing. While there may be aspects of your space throughout your day that you cannot change, identify what you can and seek to improve only what you can control. Where you struggle to find space in your life, seek it out and incorporate it however you can like a walk at the beach rather than in a gym if you spend the majority of your day indoors. Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution and we must seek to define a solution ourselves that suits us and our circumstances. It doesn't hurt to have a plan and by acknowledging space as a need we can ensure that it is considered in the choices we make. Take special note that if you are seeking ways to find space in your life from a mental perspective then maybe you would be interested in our Mental Health Workshops which can be found here: https://blog.actsintuitively.com.au/tag/workshops/

If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you then please feel free to visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.

Brent Webster
Technical Services Manager

ActsIntuitively
Bunbury, WA
info@actsintuitively.com.au

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Outbound Links:

  1. The Conversation - Green For Wellbeing: Science Tells Us How To Design Urban Spaces That Heal Us

  2. ABC - Six Ways Meditation Can Boost Health

  3. Beyond Blue - How To Make Your Space More Mentally Healthy

  4. Beyond Blue - How Nature In The Office Can Improve Your Wellbeing

  5. BiomedCentral (BMC) - The Role Of Urban Green Spaces On Mental Wellbeing

  6. Public Health England - Green Space, Mental Wellbeing And Sustainable Communities

  7. Frost Collective - Happy Space: Can Design Inspire Emotional Wellbeing And Healthy Behaviour?