The old mystical ‘doctrine of correspondences’ declares that ‘as things are above, so they will be below’. In other words, conditions in the exterior world affect our inner moods; while conversely our inner state of being also affects the way our outer surroundings are ordered. When stripped down to its basic premises, this is a natural law that people would do well to be mindful of. On a personal level, it implies a profound connection between thought and speech, between a person’s intentions and actions, and between their personality and lifestyle. It is not only theologians and philosophers who have grasped this truth; the same thinking underlies many schools of psychology including neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), whereby patients are taught to remodel the way they think in order to change their perception of events in their lives.
If changing your thinking has the power to radically alter the way you live your life, then the same logic implies that re-arranging the external features of your life can also have a profound impact on how you think and view the world. This is an area in which interior designers have come into their own.
Of course, this is no new thing. The Chinese developed the science of Feng Shui (literally meaning Wind-Water) to explain how some structural arrangements and architectural designs are more conducive to inner wellbeing and harmony than others.
In so far as the interior design of your office or living space goes, the following considerations may be helpful:
- Ceiling Height: High ceilings in a working environment are conducive to expansive thoughts and visionary planning, whereas lower ceilings can encourage focus and greater attention to detail.
- Lighting: For millions of years, the only light we could rely on was that of the sun. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that people thrive in built environments that allow the maximum exposure to natural light. Natural lighting increases people’s moods and stimulates higher brain functions.
- Storage: It is almost a cliché that a disorganised home or office is an outward symptom of a cluttered mind. Equally true, especially in working environments, is that a messy space increases stress levels and impairs the ability to plan effectively; thus making adequate storage space an important design feature.
- A room with a view: natural vistas instinctively induce a sense of clarity, relaxation and calm, for obvious evolutionary reasons, whereas urban views can over-stimulate our brains as we struggle to come to terms with the movement and busyness of it all. While most modern businesses do not have the luxury of a prime rural working location, some compensation can be made by the inclusion of plants and greenery within the office. Prints and photographs of natural landscapes can also help promote a more peaceful and contemplative frame of mind.
- Edges: When selecting furniture and layout for your office or living space, choose rounded edges and curves in preference to sharp corners and jagged points. This will counteract the inbuilt association of sharp corners with danger, and the consequent sense of unease it generates in our subconscious minds.
Guest post by Office Furniture Express, London, UK