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All living beings have the need and the ability to be sensitive to their surroundings to help them to survive and thrive. Humans, like all other beings, including plants, have an innate awareness of environment and seek out environments with certain qualities.

For example, certain plants can only grow and thrive in certain environments. Some need lots of sunshine, some need shade. The soil they root into also has a huge impact; some need alkaline soil conditions, some need acidic and some need more water than others. However, once a plant is in the ideal environment it grows strong and thrives.

Humans are no different. We have a strong need for safety and security and look for those attributes in our environment whether we are conscious of it or not. We also look for physical comfort and so things like the right temperature is important and just like plants we need the right balance of light, water and nutrition to thrive.

Some of us prefer a busy, stimulating environment to live in, while others like quieter less chaotic surroundings. Each of us thrive in different circumstances.

Our environment influences not only our physical health, but also our moods, our behaviour, how we interact with other people and can create or reduce stress.

We not only experience our environments on a physical level, but we also “feel” our environment. The quality of the energy that surrounds us, though we cannot see it, is so vitally important to our overall wellbeing also.

Think back to your childhood, before you were taught to distrust your instinct. As children we are much more connected to all of our senses including that strong instinctual knowing we are all born with. Recall a time when things didn’t feel quite right, where you could sense discord, even if things seemed okay on the outside.

Perhaps your parents had argued before you came home from school. The argument was long over and issues resolved, but the remnants of that argument lingered in the air. Your home felt different, you felt uneasy but were unable to explain why.

And perhaps some of us lived in complete chaos most of the time, and had no problem pinpointing and naming the source of our dis-ease and fear.

How did your childhood home experience affect you later in your life?

We had little choice over our living conditions as children, but as adults, we can create a space and the right kind of energy in that space, that ensures that we thrive.

Personally, I cannot live comfortably in a city environment. I feel claustrophobic and agitated and having too many people around me sends me into orbit. Because of my sensitivity to the energy around me I need space and calm. I need plants, trees and clean air to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

I’m also highly sensitive to pollutants and chemicals. Chemical air fresheners and cleaners are something I choose to avoid and instead use homemade or bought products made from natural ingredients.

Emotional chaos is also highly toxic to me and as a result I cannot tolerate conflict on a constant basis. Therefore, I’ve created an emotional atmosphere opposite to that of my past experience. We have a calm home, where there is very open communication between my children and I. All emotion is allowed in our home and can be expressed freely. There is mutual respect between us all and while conflict cannot be avoided all the time, it is a rare occurrence. We talk a lot and we are very aware of each others personal boundaries.

Each of us has the right and the ability to create a safe, comfortable and personally functional environment that meets our needs and preferences. Even if we cannot make all the changes we want right now, we can start with small things to improve our situations. We can include all the places we spend time, in these small changes, including our work or school.

Here are some suggestions on how to start making changes in your environment:

  • Journal about what your ideal environment would be like. Go into detail about the location, type of dwelling, surroundings and what it looks like.
  • How would that place fee on an emotional level.
  • Consider the space you already live in and how you can create your ideal space right where you are now.
  • Consider changing the colour, maybe tidy up a little more and add some plants.
  • Make new rules about how you and your family communicate – less shouting, more laughter.
  • Make one small change every week.

Home is where the heart is, Right? If we begin to put our heart into creating a space that is just right for us, we can thrive and find happiness on a whole new level.

2 Comments

  1. Cassandra S. Reply

    I love this Nicola. I am in the process of doing that right now. My living space now reflects everything I need to strive and grow. I put my writing on hold to do this but it is well worth the wait.

    I am so grateful to have returned to the Recovery Cafe. Reading your article was like hearing your voice once again. You are surely missed. As always, keep writing and continue on your journey. You have been and still are a help to countless people.

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