Are you over-stimulated? How can our homes heal us?
You belong in a home that makes your life easier and more fun every day
How many times do we check our phones per day? Messages? Emails? Scrolling Facebook and the gram? Do you know many actual hours of screen time do you have per day? Do you work from computers/phones? Do you watch Netflix of an evening?
How much daily use does this all add up to? Are you even aware?
How much time do you spend looking at another person’s face when communicating? How much time do you spend looking at nature? Greenery? Water?
We hear all the time reports of increased addiction to mobile and tech devices, even though most of us deny it and say we’re not that bad – I’ve definitely been guilty of this!
And I get it, it’s very difficult to limit screen time when for most of us, so much of our work depends on it these days. It allows me to be location independent in my business, which is a wonderful thing. I can create designs and mentor my clients from anywhere and serve anyone so long as they have access to the internet.
BUT, and there is a but – it is having a serious impact on our brains. Tech advances much faster than our biological evolutionary rate, we are not designed to absorb the amount of stimulation as many of us currently do. We are losing the art of downtime (chilling with flix does not count ?). A lot of us suffer from burn out or anxiety and I hear all the time “I can’t switch my brain off”.
If you think about our brain as a computer, computers start to become slow and not function as well when they get asked to do too much at once. The hard drive and processors just can’t cope and you get that spinning circle when the computer is just ‘thinking about it’. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING, right?!
However, if we look we can start to notice this in our own lives; ‘scatter brain’, ‘overwhelm’, ‘burn out’, ‘forgetful’, ‘brain like a sieve’, ‘gold fish brain’, ‘stress’, ‘anxiety’ – we all have our own terminology, but the results are similar, yet it can be tricky to recognise it as over-stimulation. All the tech and constant access to social media, constantly communicating with people and constantly absorbing information, has just become the norm.
According to researchers, the unconscious processing abilities of the human brain are estimated at roughly 11 million pieces of information per second. Compare that to the estimate for conscious processing – about 40 pieces per second. How crazy is that?! Especially when we consider that about 95% of our decision making and behaviour is driven by our subconscious, which is constantly being bombarded with stimuli.
There’s a reason why people rave so much about meditation and it’s uptake has increased exponentially in recent years: the ability to quieten our mind and give our brains a rest. Stop worrying about the future or the past and just be present and still. Personally, my mediation journey has not been an easy one because I do find it very difficult to shut my mind off from my to-do list but with practice, like a muscle, it gets stronger. But what makes it easier to shut off and centre ourselves again? Creating an environment that makes it easy to do so.
The thing is, we know at work we cannot have complete control over our screen time, unless we get another job that doesn’t rely on the use of computers/phones etc, but most of us would not want to do this. We accept whilst working we are going to be interacting constantly and our brain isn’t going to be able to just rest. We’re concentrating, we’re working. We can however control the stimulation within our homes.
The study of neuro-architecture uses evidence from neuroscientific studies to help architects design buildings that will improve the wellbeing of those who live in them. As an interior designer, we work with clients on the internal design of these spaces to improve the quality of living within that space, as well as taking an overall holistic approach to the demands of life and what the home needs to provide in order to support an individual or family living within that home.
For everyone, their home should be their refuge, their safe-space in which they can recharge to perform at their peak. Many homes these days have multiple purposes to serve us living in them; a space for rest, a space for work, a space for social interaction and entertainment, a space to wash, a space to create culinary delights… We need to remember that we have control in creating our environment at home that can reduce the stresses and demands on our brains.
There are many ways we can achieve more balance in our home:
+ Lighting is key – we now know that both light and darkness are very important to our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms controlling our hormone release and other essential bodily functions
+ Maximise access to natural light, but be able to control it
+ Good quality and variety of controllable artificial lighting
+ Sound control
+ Make sure each space is fit for purpose, it functions well and doesn’t make life more difficult
+ De-clutter – mess stimulates the brain and causes consistent micro-doses of stress
+ Bring in some nature and biophilic design, proven to have a calming effect on the brain
+ Clever storage – easy to access and organised
+ Tech-free space to relax, meditate or read
+ Social space, not centred around the TV, creating true community in the home
+ Use light, colour and textures to create the mood you need in the space
+ Create the path of least resistance with the way you layout your room/furniture etc
+ Design around people, not things!
How are you serving yourself with the home you’ve created? What could you change to help yourself and maybe your family, and live better?
P.S. If you’re interested in finding out more on this topic or are looking for some help in this area, please feel free to visit https://www.victoriawilliamsglobal.com/