This autumn, we share six useful tips for a calm and harmonious home that gives you a peaceful mind, by author and mindfulness coach Magnus Fridh.
“Make your home calmer and more harmonious. Furnish with presence and mindfulness. ”
When I think of my home, I want it to be a calm place. A place where I can recharge my own batteries, rest, relax, experience positive moments on my own and with others.
It may seem obvious, but nowadays it is easy for us to constantly fill our time with things to do and get stuck in activities, musts and the constant doing. We often do several things at the same time and even though we have left our workplace, we continue to respond to emails and stay connected late into the evening. But we also need recovery and rest. The brain needs a break. We need to be still, present where we are and even unoccupied.
For this to be easier, we can create inspiring rooms, furnish and decorate in a way that invites tranquility, rest and silence. We can also change our attitude to what we have around us and, with the help of mindfulness and presence, build a bridge over from doing to being. Because it is somewhere we can really make it possible, it is in our own home. Here we can allow ourselves to be present. Allow us to be where we really are. Allow us to rest and enjoy the tranquility of the home.
We all know this. We just need to remind ourselves.
Remind us to come home for real.
I think of some specific things that can inspire that stillness becomes a natural part of the home environment:
#1. From "doing" to "beeing"
Note and mark the transition between doing and being. When you come home, create a clear boundary. Stop for a while. Put what can distract you away. Turn off your phone for a while and devote yourself to a "do-nothing activity".
When I come home from work I usually sit down and hang out with our cat for five to ten minutes. It has become a nice routine and as soon as I sit down on our sofa she comes and lays beside me. Her pace is a different, calmer one. The pace rubs off quickly and soon I feel that my movements are also slower and softer. The phone is at an unreachable distance and I do nothing else at the same time. I can feel the tension and stress diminishing there in the moment.
In a moment of casual rest without a measured end time, a door opens to something calmer. A bit like coming in from the rushing and performing world into a no man's land, further into the calmer existence of home.
From on to off.
From doing to being.
From connected to disconnected.
Experience that you have now come home for real.
#2. Check in
How do we know we are in the present? Checking in is a tactile mindfulness exercise where, with an open mind, we can learn about how we work, where we are in the mind most, how it affects us and how we bring our mind back home.
Sometimes we dream about our future - making plans, preparing, experiencing before the experience itself, looking forward to, or worrying about.
Another times we think about our past - rejoice in fond memories, rewrite and justify events, feel gratitude for something you have been involved in, grieve the time that has passed.
What, absurdly enough, is harder to catch is the moment we actually are in.
You can sit or lie down. Then rest your palms against your legs. Keep a relaxed focus on your natural breath and try to follow every little movement of the breathing cycle. For example, how your stomach moves at each inhalation and exhalation.
If you now notice that your mind spins away to thoughts of the past - pondering, concrete events in your history, funny memories - tap your fingertips lightly on your left leg. This way you will return to your focus on the breath.
On the other hand, if you notice that your mind wanders away to thoughts of the future - things that have not yet happened, concerns, disaster scenarios, fantasies, tap your fingers lightly on your right leg. This way, you get back to your focus on the current moment.
When other thoughts, which do not affect either the future or the past, disturb your focus, quietly whisper the word “thought” to interrupt the thought spinning.
Each tap will help you bring your focus back to the breath. Back to the present moment. Back to the experience of body relaxation
#3. Media fast
Our digital tools are in many ways fantastic and entertaining. But they can also be an obstacle to finding peace in our home. Test to media fast, fixed times when we are disconnected can become a new form of everyday luxury.
Since we are all more or less constantly connected to the outside world, it has become increasingly important to create areas in the home that are sometimes free of electronics. Similarly, certain time zones when we are disconnected can become a new form of everyday luxury.
A while ago, I decided to create such surfaces in my home. More specifically, I started to turn off the phone and the computer earlier in the evenings, start them later in the mornings and never bring any kind of electronics into the bedroom.
To make this last possible, I bought an analog alarm clock. Yes, they exist and work great. The effect was immediate and slightly amazing. When I left the digital devices, larger areas of time were saved than I could effectively measure. I realized not only how much free time screen time deprived me, but also how much mental time afterwards revolved around what I experienced during my time at the screen.
When someone called for me, I no longer had to ask them to wait, or even to feel an annoyance. For the first time, the impulses were noticeably left. A hand that reached for a phone without even thinking what I would do with it.
Screen time was replaced with spaces where creativity could once again be allowed to flourish. Maybe your bedroom can also become mobile-free and again become a place for rest, sleep and cohabitation alone?
- Reflect on what you could do with all the time you spend on your mobile and computer.
- Allow yourself to get bored, research shows that it makes you more creative. In addition, you will find that you can enjoy the range of your smart phone more when you return after a break.
- If you want to do a more concrete exercise then focus on resting your hands 10 minutes each day when you get home from work.
- Resting their hands is a clear interruption to active action.
- When your hands are resting you can bring your thumb together with your index finger on each hand. The touch should be so light that you just experience the contact surface.
- Keep the presence there and leave the skin in contact for a while.
- Do not harder and do not let your fingers lose contact.
#4. Appreciate what you have
It is known that mindfulness exercises improve our overall health and effectively reduce the negative stress. An exercise can be to appreciate what you have in the presence. By seeing and appreciating what we have in front of us instead of dreaming away, we can make ourselves more present in the present and experience things when they really happen.
How can we do that?
When you are in your home, take note and zoom in on what you have and especially on the things that have a positive impact on you. Maybe it is the feeling of a certain material, a specific piece of furniture or interior decoration, the color or something that you think is extra nice. Then zoom out and see how the detail contributes to an overall experience.
By appreciating what we have, we get used to focusing on what gives us balance and which creates a positive feeling. An opportunity opens up at that moment to replace negative thoughts with something that gives positive associations.
From appreciating details in your home, you can further zoom in on details you appreciate in your life and how these create a whole and meaning.
Note five things around you that usually go unnoticed.
Five items that you appreciate but that may not be seen in everyday life.
It can be, for example, a garment, a piece of furniture, a sense of security that is tied to something special in your home, plants that have memories attached to it, something you can see outside your window or maybe a scent in your home that gives peace of mind.
Try to be present in the experience for a while.
#5. Living with greens
There are several research studies that show the positive effect green space in cities has on us. What naturally grows affects both our mental balance, keeps us healthier and lowers the experience of stress. Therefore, try to become aware of green space around your home and maybe you have a minute to take a detour to pass a tree-lined avenue, stop for a while in a park on your way to and from work, or just consciously note green areas in your home vicinity. Other studies have shown that flowers and plants in indoor environments make us less tired and lift our mood. They give a better air and not least we associate flowers and plants with positive events in our lives.
By decorating your home with plants and flowers you can create a wonderful and inspiring indoor environment. You also then have a responsibility to manage and care for them.
Maybe that can be a daily presence exercise to see that the plants are doing well, that they are free of dust and have enough water. You can follow how they grow and change over time.
Maybe it can be a daily presence exercise to see that the plants are doing well, that they are free of dust and have enough water. You can follow how they grow and change over time. That in itself makes you feel connected to the seasons and to what is changing. Some plants need to be moved and get more light, others need less water and can be placed in more sheltered places.
There is also something relaxing in the living form of plants and flowers. It can be a mindfulness exercise to focus on its beauty; The contours, the color, the texture. Keep your eyes still and relaxed. See if you can keep your full presence for a few minutes without letting anything else interfere. When thoughts come between you and the plant you are observing, pay attention to the thoughts and gently redirect your attention back to the plant again.
If you repeat the exercise you will find that it is easier and easier to stay in the presence every time.
#6. Five breaths
When you find tranquility in your home, you have created good conditions for a more stress-free everyday life. But sometimes not even the mind is completely still but the thoughts are left in the making. Thoughts do not silence.
How can we relate to all these thoughts? We can call the exercise "5 breaths". Sit comfortably and breathe deeply, then exhale as slowly as possible and experience all the tension in your body releasing you throughout your exhalation. Feel how the shoulders are lowered, the forehead and facial muscles relax and a calm spread in the body. At the end of each exhalation you can experience a growing stillness and the body can then decide for itself when to breathe in again.
To make it a little easier, repeat the exercise one more time and
as you breathe in, quietly say “inhalation”. As you exhale, quietly say “exhale”. At the end of the exhalation and at the break before the next inhalation, pronounce quiet silence.