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Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

    If I asked you what words come to mind when you think of your home, what would you say?  Would you tell me that it brings you peace every time you walk in the front door?  Would you say that the items in your home inspire you and bring you joy every time you look at them?  Would you describe your household as organized and calm?  A peaceful, calm household that is organized and filled with happiness and laughter is the type of home anyone would love to say they own.  It is also the best type of home in which to raise a family.  So, how do we ensure that we can describe our homes this way?  It’s actually easier than you think, but you must take the first step.

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    Feng Shui is an ancient art and science of creating balance and harmony in our lives by the effective management of our environment; the benefits can be felt almost immediately. Applying feng shui principles to your home is the best way to make quick, effective changes to the dynamics of your family.

    Read the following descriptions and note how you feel as you read each one.

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    House Number One:

    • Unkept lawn with weeds, no flowers
    • Front entry with shoes strewn around
    • Kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the counter.  Stack of unopened mail and flyers piled high on the counter
    • Living room is filled with toys, some lying on the floor, some piled high in the corner of the room.
    • Bedroom has mismatched furniture, clothes on the floor or on a chair. Books and magazines stuffed under the bed, bed linen that is old and faded, dresser tops cluttered with gadgets, makeup, jewellery

    House Number Two:

    • Tidy green lawn with blue and white hydrangeas lining the house.  Favourite potted plants on either side of the front door.
    • Front entry is clear with shoes neatly placed on a rack and coat hooks for the coats.
    • Kitchen is clean, bright and the counter tops are sparkling.  Only a few daily used items are displayed and three fresh green plants or herbs rest on the window sill.
    • Living Room is tidy and has labelled organizer baskets and tubs for the children’s toys. Special candle sticks bought on a wonderful holiday are displayed on the mantle and two dark green plants sit in different corners of the room
    • Bedroom has neutral calming colours with splashes of a favourite decorative colour.  Current books and magazines are stored in the matching bedside tables and the fresh, crisp bed linen is made up nicely.  The only items on the dresser are a photo of you and your partner, a fresh bouquet of flowers and a jewellery box that holds the items you wear often.

    Now,  just by reading those two descriptions I’m sure you could feel how different it would be to live in each home. House number two gives a feeling of calm, joy, and beauty whereas house number one gives a feeling of chaos, depression and stagnancy.

    The basic principle behind feng shui is that our environment is a reflection of our lives, either good or bad, because we are connected with them. They are the external representation of who we are.  Therefore, if we change or move something in our home we will experience a corresponding change or shift in our life.  In essence people can use feng shui to get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.  So, if for 2010 we want to feel less-stressed, to have more balance in our lives and to experience joy and happiness on a regular basis with our children, then we first need to set up the environment for that to take place.

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    Although I highly suggest you hire a feng shui expert to thoroughly survey your home and offer suggestions as to what needs changing, here is something feng-shui expert, Davina MacKail, suggests you can do right away to set the tone for your family life in 2010 – clear your clutter.

    Davina says, “Everything you own is energetically attached to you.  Things you love are like golden threads. Conversely, clutter is like dragging around a ball and chain.

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    “Look at your possessions with fresh eyes and ask yourself if each object reflects you and the home you want.  If not, it is time to let them go.  By removing the old, you create more space for the new – what you truly DO want.

    “If you weed a garden and just leave it the weeds return stronger than before.  But, if you weed a garden and then plant it with gorgeous plants and flowers the weeds have no room to return.  Exactly the same approach should be taken with clutter.  Make sure you know what you want to fill your newly created space with, be it more joy or more balance.  This way you will stop the clutter from returning.”

    Good questions to ask yourself when tackling clutter are:

    • Do I really love this object?
    • Does it enhance my life?
    • Do I use it?
    • Is it time to let it go?

    Just as it is necessary to build walls and lay floors and a roof to build a house, so is it necessary to prepare your home, set the stage if you will, to build the type of family life you truly want. So, clear the clutter, create the feeling you want in your house using feng shui principles, and then allow stress-free parenting to begin flowing in.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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