My posts often have talked about rebuilding our lives and health after traumatic events, but I want to pull some of that information together under this topic of how to create a healing environment.
While creating that type of environment may sound easy, there may be things you haven’t thought about that could change your environment for the worse by adding stress and chaos. Who needs that? Here are some things to inventory in your life to see whether they are helping or hindering the healing environment that you need.
Hit pause for a few days and write down anything in your environment that you notice that’s becoming stressful or is creating stress or chaos for you. What to consider. We’ll keep this as simple as possible by using our five (5) senses and then adding a couple of other categories.
What sounds do you most often hear in your environment? Are those sounds soothing or do they grind on your nerves? Can you hear nature sounds from inside your home? If you have bird feeders near your windows, you might see and hear the birds outside, which can be relaxing.
If you enjoy music, pay attention to whether it is soothing or whether it might start to bother you after a while or even cause you to change stations or to turn it off completely. Sometimes music can become annoying. If you find that you’re becoming irritated or angry or anxious while listening to certain types of music or to specific musicians, then change and find something more calming.
What colors and views make you feel relaxed and calm even in the midst of difficult situations? Are the colors surrounding you pleasant and uplifting or are they dark and gloomy and making you feel down and sad? Do you enjoy looking out the window and seeing the green grass or the blue sky, but at your current location, you find yourself looking out at an office building 10 feet from your window? It might be time for a new and better view!
What fabrics do you like or dislike for each season? Are there some fabrics that you dislike? If so, are you still using them and are they annoying you or irritating you? Might sound minor, but small things like this can make a big difference in your quality of life.
Are you someone who likes to be touched and who likes to touch others? If so, is that happening? There are good touches and bad touches. Often when people have had bad touches happen to them through domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, they may be less likely to reach out and touch friends, but yet they may sincerely appreciate the affirmation of their friends touching them appropriately. On the other hand, if there’s with someone whom you’re not comfortable with who is touching you, then you might need to address that so you can create a better healing environment for yourself.
And then there are comfort foods. What foods do you reach for as comforting when stress hits or when recovering from traumatic situations? Are they healthy? What foods do you like that will help give your body the nutritional support it needs for creating a good healing environment from the inside out?
I’m fond of aromatherapy and love the different scents, but peppermint and lavender essential oils are two of my favorite scents. Peppermint is energizing while lavender is calming.
Naturally, we all have smells that we don’t like. Sometimes there are colognes or perfumes that we may not like but may need to put up with them because other individuals are wearing them. Maybe there are favorite flowers that you enjoy smelling. Some people love the smell of the ocean, while others prefer the smell of fresh mountain air in the Fall. Others like the comforting feeling they get when they smell chocolate chip cookies baking or bread baking. So think about the scents that surround you and how they may or may not be creating the healing environment you desire.
What can you do to change the surrounding smells? If you like the smell of apples, you might set out a bowl of apples so you can enjoy the smell of the apples whenever you walk past. Scented candles can be a nice touch and create a healing environment as well.
People may be in our lives for seasons. Not everybody we encounter will help us create the healing environment we desire. So we need to guard our hearts, as the Bible says. We guard what we’re exposed to that might influence us for the better or that might turn our world into one drama after another. Are there people in your life who bring peace and healing or are there people you need to weed out who create constant drama?
Activities While we might enjoy doing things and helping others, there may come a time when we need to say “no” to some activities no matter how good they might be. After traumatic events, we need to be careful not to isolate, but also to not overdo it and be so busy that we can’t feel and process the situation(s) we went through. Where are you in this? Take inventory of your schedule to see if you’re over-committed and staying busy rather than being still to process the pain that just occurred.
The other side of activities is withdrawing and turning our focus inward too much. Find the right balance that will get you out of your house to enjoy being with others and to serve others in need. It’s amazing how much healing we receive when we serve others who may be less fortunate than we are in some way. Have you tried this?
Movement Are you moving around enough to create and maintain a healthy environment? Ouch! Maybe not? Taking the stairs whenever possible, walking around throughout the day, purposely not sitting at the computer for more than 20-30 minutes without getting up to move around. Do you do these kinds of things? Bending, stretching, and engaging your body that was created to move will keep it healthier. In doing these things, you will create a better and healthier environment long-term for your body and for your brain health.
We’ve talked about taking inventory of how healing our environments really are by simply checking out the things related to our five senses, activities, and movement. What have you learned from doing this? Did you find areas that are creating healing or are you noticing that maybe there’s more chaos than you realized? Either way, I hope this helped you to assess and move forward to a greater healing environment. There is much more to be said about creating healing environments, so stay tuned for future posts on the topic.
Meanwhile, I would love to hear about what you will be changing as a result of reading this post that you hadn’t previously considered. I’ll be sure to get back to you when you leave me a comment. Thanks in advance!