Pause whatever you might be doing and listen. Turn off your music, take off your headphones, ignore the people mowing the lawn, and listen. Quiet.
Unless you’re in a workspace with people clacking away at their keyboards, chattering at people through the phone, and grumbling by the water cooler, you can find this moment of quiet. Even at work you can, though it’ll be harder.
When you do take a moment and find a place of quiet, how does it feel? Does it feel foreign? Overwhelming? Does it feel familiar? Like an old friend?
I encourage you to sit in your bedroom, shut the door if you have one, and to listen. What does your room sound and feel like? Is it a happy quiet, a calm quiet? Or does it feel heavy and unwelcoming?
Maybe you think I’m getting into some weird energy sensing area of philosophy, but I assure you I’m not. Some silences are heavier, like the silence at a funeral or the moment before a couple breaks up. Some are happy and light like the silence after getting engaged or the silence after laughter.
Silence is important. What’s equally important is having a place that has a happy silence. For me, that’s the bedroom. Cultivating a happy air in a room is not as easy as it may initially sound. Having a room that does not carry your anger, sadness, disappointment, and daily pain is extremely important. I suggest everyone have one room (if possible) where you work on creating a sanctuary for yourself.
Several months ago, while battling another bout of depression, I decided to try and spruce up my room, seeing if that would help. It did. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) it wasn’t enough. After months of working on my room, I can say I sleep better, I wake up happier, and my room is a safe sanctuary that I can go to perk up, to restore my energy and mind, and to fight off depression.
The benefits of having a place removed from work and stress are amazing, to put it simply.
But creating a sanctuary is not easy, as I’ve discovered. There are so many pieces of negativity or fear in our lives that it can be hard to pinpoint what you need to leave at the door of your room. Finances, school, work, all tend to creep in when we aren’t looking. Negativity comes in big and small forms, neither of which are easy to control. But it’s not just about excluding these aspects of negativity either.
It’s also about cultivating positivity. Adding aspects that make us happy can be difficult. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what brings us joy. Other times we do, but we are unsure of what we need to bring into our space of happiness.
But how do we create a place void of negativity and bring in happiness?
- Appeal to the senses.
There are five of them (yeah, yeah you know that). But each one has a different importance to us. For instance, I am very scent driven meaning that a room that smells really great makes me happy immediately upon entering. I’ve toyed with different kinds of candles to find the perfect scent and I keep exploring different smells.
Another sense is sight, and it’s important to me too. In my sanctuary is a rock salt lamp and colored Christmas lights hung around. The room is clean, orderly, and wonderfully organized. I open the drapes to get sun in during the day. The room has soft lighting (very important). Soft lighting is easier on the eyes and mind and creates a calm energy in the room.
Touch cannot be overlooked either. My room has lots of soft things (a couple stuffed animals). Some other things that might be nice to include are smooth things, rocks, blankets or comforters, or fuzzy sweaters. The more comfy stuff the better!
To make my ears happy, I like to play piano music, cello music, or classic rock (normally the last one). It doesn’t have to be calm. Calm music might actually agitate you more. Pick and play your favorite kind of music, or open the window to listen to nature, or just relish in the silent space you have created.
Finally, taste. A picky topic and one that is not as important to most (myself included) it’s important not to rely on candy or junk food. Healthier foods, lemon water, and coffee/tea are great alternatives to making your taste buds dance.
2. Leave finances at the door.
That means all finances. Bills, shopping, debt, loans, none of it makes it into the bedroom. Chide yourself if you start thinking about it and walk out if you want to talk about it. Stressful topics like finances will destroy what you’ve worked to create.
3. Leave any stressful topic at the door.
It’s not just finances. Health, arguments, grief and other pains should not be brought into the happy place if you can avoid it. This does not mean you can’t go in there to relax and cheer yourself up. It means you cannot spiral down in the room you have created.
Make sure you spend time being happy in the room. Laugh by yourself or with your significant other. Have fun! Dance, giggle, do a hobby that you like. Enjoy the time you spend in the room.
These are only some of the basic tips. When designing a room that will be your sanctuary, it doesn’t have to be a massive remodeling endeavor. It can be as simple as grabbing some coffee and lighting a candle. It doesn’t have to cost money. It is just supposed to be a happy, healthy, and personally created space that allows your mentality to grow positive buds in a world that often gives us only negativity.