Brain-Friendly Foods & Depression
September 4, 2017

Making Your Home a Sanctuary for Your Soul

We seek a calming space when we frequently head to the spa, beach or mountains to relax and rejuvenate. We know it will have a profoundly positive effect on our wellbeing.  You can create a sanctuary for your soul in your everyday life – in your home and even at work

Our nervous system is greatly affected by our surrounding environment. We respond, whether we know it or not, with the production of stress hormones. These hormones can make us sick!

I once played the “Alleluia” chant by Robert Gass during a lecture to introduce the concept of mantra repetition, and I asked the audience to sing the chant along with the artist. A couple of weeks later, I heard from a woman who had attended. She wanted me to know she started playing the chant instead of listening to television and said, “Even the children are more peaceful.”

Watching intense movies and sports competitions that cause you to become emotionally upset have profound effects on your nervous system. For my patient Al, a veteran with PTSD, watching combat movies resulted in a rise in blood pressure, shortness of breath and congestive heart failure. This sent him to the emergency room on a regular, monthly basis, despite the best medical treatment. Once we realized those visits were tied to his TV choices, his wife took over the remote control and limited him to the Disney Channel. Al’s ER visits ended. It was as simple as that.

  • Turn down or turn off background noise, like your TV and talk radio. Introduce into your environment whatever you find most soothing.
  • Stop reading e-mail after a certain hour, especially before going to bed. The computer signals your brain that it is daytime, and your sleep will be disturbed. You also risk opening a message that may contain distressing content.
  • Introduce the use of essential oils. Certain scents like lavender, jasmine and geranium can be extremely soothing. Purchase an aromatherapy diffuser and good-quality oils.
  • Create a sacred space in your home. This corner or separate room can hold objects that are meaningful to you. Even a simple blanket spread on the floor can serve as your space for contemplation, meditation and peace.
  • Bring in nature. Flowers and plants are not only beautiful, they are soothing and enhance the serenity of your environment. Place fresh lavender in your bedroom, or plant jasmine and gardenia by your bedroom window so their scent filters into your room at night.
  • De-clutter. This clears your space in more ways than one. Reduce or eliminate piles of things to read, sort, work on and donate.

Learn More:

Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise exposure: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3971384/#__abstractidm139665851418864title

Individual Daytime Noise Exposure during Routine Activities and Heart Rate Variability in Adults: A Repeated Measures Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3672128/

Changes in Mood States Are Induced by Smelling Familiar and Exotic Fragrances: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5099920/

Exploring Pharmacological Mechanisms of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil on Central Nervous System Targets: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5437114/