Spring has arrived and Earth Day is here, making this an ideal time to practice the ancient art of Feng Shui. Literally translated, Feng Shui means "wind water." The first people who practiced Feng Shui sought to make interior environments mimic nature. By bringing representations of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal indoors, households felt more life affirming.
Try these techniques to feel a greater sense of peace and belonging when you're surrounded by symbols of Mother Nature.
Choose your color palette
If your home feels antiseptic, add a splash of color. Think about your ideal environment. Have you always been drawn to the tropics? Paint a room a cheerful orange, and then punctuate it with hot pink and yellow accents. If you like the desert, choose earth tones of sand, sepia, cream and russet. People who are long for snowy landscapes can decorate with a blend of cream, ivory, silver and dove gray. Beach lovers will be uplifted by aqua, cobalt, slate and sea grass green. If you come to life in the early days of spring, try light, clear pastels like sea green, lilac, petal pink, powder blue and buttercup yellow. When your interior décor mimics your ideal natural environment, you'll feel inspired all year round.
Pick natural materials
Filling your home with natural materials will strengthen your tie to Mother Earth. Find inventive ways of blending the permanence of stone, the stability of tile, and the vitality of leather. Wood is uplifting and energizing, while glass is inspiring and clarifying. Touches of metal lend structure and purpose to an environment. The flexibility of wicker is ideal for a room meant for casual socializing. Last but not least, natural materials like silk, wool, linen and cotton lend a variety of textures that mimic the wonderful diversity of nature.
Infuse your home with scent
A home or office that has no scent or reeks of chemical cleansers is a real turnoff. Nature is filled with stimulating scents. The best way to infuse your home with good smells is to cook mouthwatering food. Nothing is more welcoming than the smell of baking bread, simmering tomato sauce, or warming spices. Fresh flowers can also do the job nicely, while thriving plants cleanse the air. Peel an orange when you want to freshen the atmosphere. Warming essential oil in a diffuser can also introduce nature's beauty into your home.
Let there be light
The more natural light your home or office gets, the better you'll feel. That's because sunlight triggers the production of serotonin, a chemical that induces euphoria. Being cooped up inside all day beneath fluorescent lamps can make you tired and depressed. The simple addition of a desk lamp with a full-spectrum light bulb can improve your energy level at work. Use these light bulbs throughout your living space if it doesn't have many southern or eastern exposures.
Nature is never silent. That's why it's so important to bring outdoor sounds inside. A silent interior makes people feel anxious. A pleasant sounding fountain will put you at ease. Listening to a CD of bird songs will fill you with enthusiasm. Positioning a fan in front of a leafy plant will raise your energy level. A recording of a thunderstorm can prove cleansing after a stressful day, while listening to a crackling fire will prompt you to be more outgoing. Surrounding yourself with natural sounds will put you back in touch with your elemental nature, lending welcome balance to your life.