Change Your Environment to Change Your Outlook

The color of the walls, the pictures on our desk, our screensaver, the music playing in the background, and even the clothes we are wearing contribute to the ‘atmosphere’ of our environment.  So what would happen if we took control over all of it?  Could it change our mood?

I am believer that it would.  Now keep in mind, I do not have any research on hand to state whether or not it actually does.  It is only from personal experience that I would vote yes.  For years I recall taking control over my surroundings to fuel my energy and drive.  As a child my room had bright accents (yes..even a pink canopy bed with matching curtains).  Into the teen years, my closet doors were covered with inspirational quotes that I pulled from books and wrote out in colorful markers.  My agenda was essentially a happiness scrapbook with each page covered in bright paper, photos, quotes, notes from friends, and messages of encouragement.  Once hitting the post secondary level, there was less time to scrapbook my agenda, so I turned to my socks! From the ages of probably 18 to 22, if you opened my sock drawer you would find either brightly colored toe socks (the ones where each toe is a different color), or gym socks…no normal socks for me!  Oddly enough, regardless of how icky a day, looking down and seeing rainbow colors stick out under my jeans during a lecture or exam at SFU always made me smile.

socks19

Now I sit at multiple desks throughout the week and still have ways to ensure I am absorbing positive messages.  My water bottle sits proudly on my desk and reads ‘Love Your Life’, I have wall quotes plastered everywhere, I stare at dream boards, I bring symbols that anchor me to my family values, and read daily encouraging remarks from daily readers and mentors in my life.  Below are a couple more suggestions to control your environment:

1.  De-clutter – clutter not only clutters your desk, it can clutter your mind.  Having things organized helps increase visual energy onto things that lift your spirit and let you breathe

2.  Encouragement/affirmation cards – have some personal statements giving yourself a pat on the back handy in a drawer or in a note book.  When we are at work or school and need a pick-me-up, the card is there! (I like mine written on overly bright cardstock)

3.  Watch what you read – reading gossip or people complain about their day may taint your mood.  If you are having an off day, try to read only stories of success or share in other people’s wins.  Steer clear of those ‘Negative Nancy’s’ in your life

4.  Really listen to the words of your music – turning the angry/sad/poor me music off and re-connect with some good ol’ toe tappin tunes. You might be surprised how much this one can change your day.  My favorite is Christmas Music…no joke…any time of year or time of day.  It was especially helpful during ‘paper season’ in post secondary

5. What is on your walls?? – take a good look…are you inspired by what you see? On my walls you will find: positive quotes, pictures of my family dating back to the 40’s, dream boards, my favorite vintage car, sunsets, and marine-inspired art.

~Brooke Lewis, MA, RCC~

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