I recently read ‘Mood Mapping: Plot Your Way to Emotional Health and Happiness’ by Dr Liz Miller for my main site EY MAG and it was filled with a lot of really good information, some of which I think would be good to share here also. One thing that came up repetitively throughout the book was about our environment, how it can affect us, our moods and ultimately our success in the world. Some of us are going to be more affected by our environment than others. Some people can still be successful and function well in the world in not so desirable living and working conditions. Other people are going to be more affected by where they live, who they live with, where they work, how much light they get each day, and whether they get out of doors into nature or not.
This is not necessarily a book for those who have been diagnosed with any mood disorder. It is really for everyone. Because we all are guided by our moods and our success in the world, in our relationships and in our work is very much linked with how we control and manipulate our own mood. When we are happy, we are automatically more social, more productive and are more creative. Bad moods give rise to negative thinking, doubting ourselves and our abilities, and also fear based thinking which shuts down creativity. It makes sense then to try and create the best environment for our life and work – or life’s work!
Everything comes from somewhere. Bad moods don’t just happen – there is always an underlying reason. Mood mapping can help you to make connections between life events and your moods that may accompany them. Many people spend their whole lives in a reactionary state reacting to what is going on outside of themselves and not really understanding what is happening within and how that might affect their external environment. In that way, mood mapping helps to create emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent is hugely important for success because once you can understand yourself and why you do the things you do, it also helps you to better understand others. If you are an entrepreneur and one day you want to become a good boss or leader you will also want to be working on your emotional intelligence.
A lot of our work now happens on computers. Which means long periods sitting and staring at a screen. A lot of us also do at least some or all of our work from home. Create an inspiring place to work in your home. It is best to be facing a window that you can see out of. It helps you to stay connected to nature and the outside. We have evolved to live in houses but it is not really the best for us and our bodies. Every day we need to get outside and get our feet on the earth. Get outside in the sun to eat meals if you can. Take breaks and go for a quick walk whenever possible. Make sure you are being exposed to natural light every day. If you work in an office space personalise it with some plants and photos. If you are on the move a lot create a really inspiring screensaver or slideshow on your laptop full of beautiful images of nature etc. to help keep you motivated. Regularly change up your work environment for new inspiration and ideas, and find some really inspiring places to work – check out libraries, coffee shops and art spaces.
Messy house = messy mood. In the book, Liz Miller discussed how the different areas of your life make up a wheel. For your life to run smoothly you need to have satisfaction or at least feel like you are moving in the right direction for all life areas otherwise your wheel is going to run unevenly and then your life won’t run smoothly! I realised that a big area that was causing me stress was my living environment. I have been prioritising a lot of other things above taking care of my home but taking care of my home also helps a lot of other areas of my life to run well. Everything is connected. So lately I have been doing less website work and more decluttering and home organisation to get back on track. Because where you live and the environment that you live in is really important. Letting things pile up can cause you to get stuck and it can stop you from moving forward. Decluttering and putting systems in place to keep your house clean and clear from clutter can also make space for new creative thoughts and ideas and it can also help you to make big leaps in your business – just try it!
Keeping your house clean and clutter free is one thing but it is also really important to create a beautiful space to live in. We spend huge amounts of time in our homes – more so if we also work at home. Liz talked about using colour, art, pictures of loved ones, flowers, beautiful objects and playing music to help uplift your space. Liz also talked about making a little ‘quiet space’ that is just for you to read in or reflect. You don’t need a lot of money to create a beautiful space to live and work in – check out Pinterest for good ideas! Fresh paint and some house plants can go a long way to helping you feel better about your living environment. One area that I also think is really important to take care of is your kitchen! Don’t keep bad food in your house – period. Eliminate any temptation to eat unhealthily and keep your cupboards and your fridge clean and organised so that you are always motivated to cook yourself healthy meals.
I have talked about this a lot recently but I am mentioning it again! Spend more time with the people that motivate you to do better, support you, encourage you and uplift you. To have those types of people around you, you first need to become one of them yourself. Encourage and motivate the people around you with their goals and dreams and then you will most surely get it back in return. Treat others how you wish to be treated ?
ACCESS TO GREEN SPACE:
People who live in cities are more at risk for mood disorders. Living in the country and having access to more green space is also linked with a longer life. Dr Liz Miller talked about in her book whether you are a city person or a country person. Writers and creatives who are naturally more introverted can sometimes find it hard to live in busy city environments. If you live in a big city make sure you regularly get out in nature and get some green. Scope out all of the close-by parks, beaches, lakes and bush walks/hikes. Make sure you regularly make use of any nearby green space and plan at least one lot of exercise outside each week – it really is so important!
Too many life changes all at once can be very stressful on our bodies and can lead to mood and health problems.
Here is a great stress test.
Dani Watson on upgrading your environment for success!
(Photo: Chris Abney)