Recently, fields like “positive psychology” – or the study of happiness – have dedicated lots of energy to finding the secrets of contentment. How can we improve our lives? How can we make our partners, our children and ourselves happier? More and more, research is discovering that happiness is a choice that we make. In other words, there are so many simple things we can do to enhance happiness. One such option comes to us from the traditions of the Far East – how we can use the principles of Feng Shui to make our homes a haven of positive energy, mental and emotional health, and of course, happiness.
The Chinese principles of Feng Shui are based on eight centers of energy known as “Bagua,” and how those “energy centers” affect our space “qi.” Bagua includes many focuses, including wealth, health, love, and self-cultivation, but for the purpose of turning a simple house into a loving home, the Health and Family Baguas are most helpful.
The Health and Family Baguas are associated with the wood element, which is no surprise when we recall that family, across many cultures, has long been compared to a tree. Like the strong trunk and sturdy roots that keep the branches safe and connected to the earth, so does a family have a stabilizing effect – through thick and thin, familial relationships protect us.
Like any and all attempts to decorate your home, the objects you place in a given room should be about you and your family, not necessarily reflective of the time and trends. To create a space where your family is celebrated, ultimately, it’s best to choose objects that hold some personal meeting to you.
For a few quick and easy yet personal touches to add to your home, check out the following list:
- Bringing the outdoors inside is not just a good way to integrate the wood and family themes of healthy Bagua and qi, but also a way to celebrate family memories – frame and hang a favorite picture from a family trip to the Grand Canyon, or hiking trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains – or, frame and hang a picture of a place you and your family are dreaming to travel to! Beyond pictures of the outdoors, consider bringing plants into your home as well – nurturing a plant together as a family offers a rewarding and bonding experience, and the addition of a live plant once again helps integrate the wood theme of the Family Bagua.
- Don’t have a green thumb? Instead of bringing a live plant into the house, what about decorating with items collected from your last trip to the beach? Driftwood can make a beautiful, natural and interesting centerpiece for the mantel, and surrounding it with shells or bottles of sand will make you feel like you never left the beach.
- Sensing a nature theme here, but not keen on bringing in things from the backyard? Even decorating with sumptuous floral prints, wallpapers, and fabrics can create a feeling of the outdoors inside.
- Decorate with pictures and other mementos of family – and that doesn’t just have to be last year’s Christmas picture. Create a collage or card tree of photos from a fun family dinner, the children’s choral concert, a birthday card from Grandma, or puppy’s first collar tags (pets are family, too!).
- Finally, create an “affirmations box.” Too often we are prone to dwell on those things that we don’t have, or those things that perturb us or make us sad. Instead, at least once a week, perhaps every Sunday night, sit down as a family and write down at least five things that you are grateful for, and put them in the box. Share your affirmations with each other, or keep them anonymous and go to read the box’s contents when you need a pick-me-up.
Research shows that simply by choosing to focus on those positive aspects of our lives, we can improve our health and happiness.
Hang your own feng shui artwork representing love and relationships:
Art of Feng Shui Print, Love and Relationship Cure