I have been thinking a lot about awareness. A thought has been rolling around in my brain. Do you have things in your home that you see, but you don’t really see? Some of these iitems may be artwork and figurines that have been on display for a while but simply fade into the background as you go through your day-to-day life? In this blog I want to share with you how being aware of your surroundings can help improve your mental wellbeing.
Why I Started Thinking About Awareness
The other day, I was working on a client and looked at the shelf in my healing room. It is home to a collection of Willow Tree figurines. Looking at these figurines brought to mind the people who have gifted me with these figurines.
One of them, called Sisters of the Heart, was given to me by my very good friend in Iowa. Even though we are separated physically by miles, we are sisters of the heart without a doubt. The other figurines are called Gratitude, Hope, Friendship, Sunshine, and so many others that have wonderful messages behind them and the gift of friendship from those that have gifted them to me.
I started wondering what kind of treasures are around your home that maybe you see but you don’t see? What kind of memories are around your home that maybe you see but don’t see?
The Concept of Habituation
If you have decorative items and other things in your home that you no longer notice, there is a psychological term for that. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Dictionary of Psychology, habituation means, “the diminished effectiveness of a stimulus in eliciting a response, following repeated exposure to the stimulus.”
Habituation is the reason that those paintings, figurines and other items that once were treasured gifts, souvenirs, or purchases just sort of fade into the background. You may have noticed them at first, but now they are simply something you are used to seeing.
Becoming More Mindful of Your Surroundings
Fortunately, you can become more mindful of the items in your home and connect with the meaning behind them. The word “mindful” can seem a little bit intimidating sometimes, especially when you are living a life with a lot of moving parts to manage. There is a nice, simple explanation from Living Well, “Being mindful, and becoming more aware of the present moment, means noticing the sights, smells, sounds and tastes that you experience, as well as the thoughts, feelings and sensations that occur from one moment to the next.”
Being mindful of your surroundings can be as simple as slowing down and paying attention. If you need to do so, at first you can set a reminder to take this time to yourself. Then, choose a room and really look at the objects in your room. Take a moment and think about those objects and let the value of those memories sort of fill your heart.
Let your mind relax and allow yourself to think about where the item came from, why you bought it or who gave it to you. Allow yourself the time to think about the friends or family members who are associated with the item. Or, if it is something you purchased, give yourself the time to think about why you chose it, what it meant to you when you brought it home.
Rearranging the Items in Your Home
Another way to remain mindful of these special items in your life is to rearrange them from time to time. Paintings, photos, and figurines can easily be moved to other locations in your home so that you notice them more easily. Not only does this freshen up your home décor, but when you consciously notice items with good memories, you get to feel those good feelings more often.
You can also put some items away and put others on display if you start to feel as if your space is being cluttered. You can set a reminder to rotate through your collection so that all your special decorations have their time in your day-to-day life.
Decluttering the Items in Your Home That No Longer Serve You
Sometimes the items in your home can have the opposite effect of what my Willow Tree collection has on me. Sometimes the items in your home can cause negative feelings or unhappy memories. If that is happening, you can part with them. There is no mandate that they must be in your home simply because they have always hung in a certain spot or taking up space on a particular shelf.
As you make your way through your home, you might find items that you no longer have a strong connection to, that do not bring up memories of friends or family, or that you simply no longer like. It is ok to give yourself permission to donate them to a charity that accepts home goods and decorations.
Reaching Out to the Loved Ones Associated with Your Most Loved Objects
In this peculiar year, the biggest takeaway for so many of us has been how important our loved ones really are. As you spend time being mindful of the objects in your home and the emotional connection behind them, you can reach out to those people and tell them that you are thinking of them, and why. If that person is deceased, you can write that message in a journal or share the memory with someone else who knew them.
I hope this blog helps you find the joy in the objects in your home and remember the love and special stories surrounding the most precious items in your life.
My wish is always for you to BE WELL