I’ve been thinking a lot recently about our environment, not on a big global scale but the environment around us and how it can affect how we feel.
I’m sure that you have all had the experience of smelling a particular smell, or putting on a favourite jumper and immediately remembering all sorts of lovely memories. Or perhaps you might not have a good experience that you can recall when you say go to your dentist or get into a car, or perhaps a piece of clothing that you wore to a funeral of a loved one.
All of these are known as triggers, something around you, something that for someone else would mean nothing, but for you it is a trigger for a memory, it reminds you of what happened and more importantly, how you felt, at a particular time.
You probably know this, but sometimes the link that we don’t make is how this can affect us on a day to day. Let me give you an example. You may be someone who perhaps isn’t the most motivated at the weekend, you get up, you put on your dressing gown, wrapped tightly around you, you go downstairs and sink into your sofa, you click the tv on, and you just flop, you feel uuuurrgh. In fact the moment you put on your dressing gown you feel like that! What would happen if instead of putting on your dressing gown you got in the shower and got dressed? Chances are you would feel completely different when you went downstairs. This is because you have removed one of the big triggers to how you feel, you have subconsciously associated putting on that dressing gown with demotivation, slumping on the sofa, not doing anything. Remove it, and you can then choose how you want to feel. We can apply the same to our home environment, if you into a particular room and feel stressed, fed up, tired, de~motivated ~ whatever the negative feeling, try changing something around. Move a picture, ornaments, a chair, sit in a different place, anything to change your ‘status’, change those triggers. Really look at what is around you, what do they remind you of? Are they helpful? Inspiring? Do they remind you of happy things?
It is the same to our working environment. Do you sit at your desk and just feel overwhelmed, stressed, tired, fed up? Every time you sit there each and every part of that desk will serve as a reminder of how you felt the day before. There are some things you can’t change, you may not be able to change where or the fact you have a computer ~ but could you add a photograph on your desk that makes you happy or perhaps have a different wallpaper on your screen? What about that large pile of papers ~ could you sort them out or put them somewhere else? I work at my kitchen table a lot and I realised that I face a room that we’ve neglected and a bare wall! Hardly inspiring! Every time I looked at it, it reminded me that I had to sort it, do something with it, I associated it with a lack of time. So I’ve sorted that room and made it into a really chilling space and put lovely pictures of my kids on the wall. Now when I lift my head from my laptop it inspires me. I did the same a few years ago with my treatment room. I had a bookshelf full of old books and papers related to my old job. Even though it was behind a blind that no one saw, I knew it was there and when I walked past it, it reminded me about that old job, which was unhelpful as it was a very stressful time.. So I cleared it, sorted it and moved it out and it was amazing how different the room felt to me.
So this week, my challenge to you is to really look at making your environment positive and helpful, so it makes you feel good. You don’t need to buy a new wardrobe, redecorate or buy new furniture, but think about your triggers and see if you can make a difference by just changing a few things around.