Environmental Interventions for Depression | Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

Environmental Interventions for Depression | Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery


Alright there we go. Welcome to today’s
presentation of happiness isn’t brain surgery practical tools to improve your
mood and quality of life. We are finishing up the 100 plus tools to
defeat depression today and we’re going to be talking about environmental
interventions. So we’re going to discuss how all of your senses can either help
you feel happier or more stressed and identify happiness triggers and ways to
incorporate them into your home which you spend a lot of time in, your car
which you probably spend a lot of time in and your office which again you spend
a lot of time in. So it’s important to really think about all three of those
areas your environment plays a huge role in how you feel. I want you to just like
stop whatever you’re doing right now unless you’re driving of course or on
the treadmill but look around and look at your environment and think about what
things are in your environment that make you happy right now and what things in
your environment that might be draining energy. Like on my other monitor over
here I have a picture of my dog Brewster and he always makes me smile so that
gives me energy you know if I look at my desk it’s kind of cluttered right now
that drains my energy but it’s important to look around and I mean the lights
above I’ve got bright lights in here so that
gives me energy the wall coloring and you can’t really tell on this video but
it’s it’s a warm tan color which I tend to like yellows and tans for walls
because it’s warm and inviting it’s not stark it’s not cold so it feels
comfortable in this environment and obviously I decorated my my area to
reflect my personality so that makes me happy and it’s important that you look
around your environment and figure out you know what does this say about me a
soothing environment will trigger calming physiological responses so
anytime you’re in an environment that is what you consider calming you’re going
to have calming physiological responses now some people like darkness
some people like cool colors you know it’s up to you what you
fer a stressful environment can trigger anxiety or depression and we’re going to
talk about your senses as well some people prefer to be in a room in order
to be calm that’s quiet myself if it’s too quiet I start going a little bit
stir-crazy I like to have background noise so it’s
important to know what kinds of environments trigger your stress and
trigger your calm if you’re stressed or depressed your environment tends to end
up reflecting that so if you are stressed and overwhelmed a lot of times
your environment will be cluttered and show that you’re stressed and
overwhelmed if you are happy and energetic your environment is probably
going to reflect that more so you want to look at the amount of clutter and
disarray and stuff it’s just not making you happy in your environment get rid of
that make it a priority so your environment is at least welcoming when
you’re happy and energized your environment often reflects that so think
about how your home and your office are different when you’re depressed versus
when you’re happy when I’m happy I tend to have more energy I tend to focus
better so my inbox is a lot lower my desk is
you know a little less cluttered my home tends to be dusted more often I’m not a
big duster and I tend to think keep things cleaner than when I’m you know
how depressed or fatigued or whatever the case may be and I’m just like screw
it I don’t care so think about those two things when I’m depressed I tend to not
open the blinds when I’m happy I tend to open the blinds so I can see outside and
watch the birdies and do that kind of stuff think about you know when you’re
thinking about your environments and what causes stress and what you know
makes you more relaxed think about a place that you walked into that had bad
energy and I remember one place I worked the first time I walked into interview I
walked in and I was like oh I’m not sure if I really want to work here everybody
seems unhappy and it felt stressed stressful everybody was quiet and they
it I don’t exactly know what it was but it felt stressful and and we’ve all been
in those situations before when you walk into a room and you know when you were a
kid and you walked into the room and you knew you’ve done something wrong because
you could just feel it emanating from your parents and you’re like aw crap
I don’t know what I’m in trouble for but I’m in trouble all right that’s the kind
of energy we’re talking about and then think about a place that you walk into
that has good energy and hopefully there are more of those kinds of places and I
can think of a lot of different places that I’ve been that have had good energy
where people were happy where animals were happy where you know it was just an
energizing happy place to be now you want to eliminate aspects that reminds
you of the place that had bad energy and increase aspects that remind you of the
place that have good energy so let’s talk about our senses can when we’re
talking about our environment that’s how we interpret our environment is through
our senses so sites are the first thing that we want to talk about and
extroverts like me we tend to really like to be able to people-watch
and see things if we’re in a cubicle we can get you know kind of frustrated
really fast so extroverts tend to like to be in more active environments and
they don’t mind people walking around I actually prefer it I like to study at a
library or at you know a coffee shop or something where I’m not the only one
just sitting there in total silence by myself introverts on the other hand
prefer quiet to be the only one no interruptions that sort of thing so
which do you prefer my daughter is an introvert she doesn’t she’ll go into her
room and she will study she doesn’t want
people messing with her when she’s studying also think about what you see
and what feelings that triggers what pictures are on the wall and I mean this
office is a really bad example if you looked around there aren’t many pictures
on the wall I’ve never been big on putting up pictures but at my house I
have a lot of tapestries hanging up on the wall that make me happy
a lot of them are Thomas Kincade tapestries and tapestries of chickens
and ducks and you know whatever you all know I live on a farm so now you
understand why I have the tapestries of the animals but that’s one way that
number one the tapestries cut down on the echoing so it makes the sound a
little softer but it also reminds me of the things that make me happy so putting
those up on the walls you can put up posters on the wall you know you can put
up memes you can print things out from the internet whatever it is that when
you see it it makes you smile that’s a good thing to have in your environment
and that will help with depression likewise if you have things around your
office or house or whatever that remind you of things that make you angry or sad
guess what even if you’re not directly looking at it when you catch a glimpse
of it it’s gonna remind you of that thing and it’s gonna trigger a little
bit of a stress response or a depressive response so sometimes there are things
that you need to take out of your environment at least for a little while
especially things that make you angry in order to let yourself you know get
some energy back and kind of get on a good footing there are things that I
have at my house that remind me of times in my past where you know it’s been a
very very unhappy time very stressful time yeah I don’t want reminders of that
time around you know it’s passed I’ve dealt with it whatever but I don’t want
to keep seeing it and remembering how I felt back then because that’s not
productive now there are going to be things that may trigger a little bit of
melancholy and you like people I have a picture of my daddy hanging on the wall
in my in my living room and you know that’s melancholy because he’s passed
away and I do miss him but it also brings a smile to my face because I
remember the time that we had together when you’re depressed you may not want
to have those melancholy triggers up there right now you can put them back
later you need to decide what’s comfortable for you colors like
I said before this office is kind of a yellowy tan that makes me happy
but figure out what colors make you happy
consider doing an accent wall or if you can’t paint wherever you’re at consider
getting wallpaper and using little tacks to put it up on the wall or using accent
pillows and sofa covers in order to bring that color into your environment
if that’s what makes you happy you know I’ve said that I tend to like yellows
and tans and things but I also like dark purples royal blue and periwinkle
who knew but those are my accent colors I don’t want a whole room in royal blue
because that would be overwhelming but an accent wall or decorations that are
in that color work really well for me so think about what colors you use that
colors orange red and brown and yellow all are supposed to make you hungrier
because they’re associated with with food I mean a lot of people when they
see those colors or the foods that they like tend to be those colors the things
that they don’t like to eat as much like green vegetables tend to not trigger
that same hunger sensation so think about that you can also look up Fung
Shui and learn a little bit more about what the different colors mean in that
theory of interior design think about the people that you see in your area
whether it’s pictures of people or the people that you’re interacting with does
it make you happy or does it make you stressed out and what things in in your
environment make you happy and you know we don’t want to get too materialistic
because material things can always go away but things like a soft pillow or I
love soft fuzzy blankets I don’t know why but I do and my pets they’re not
really things but they’re not people either love my cats my dogs not so crazy
about my son’s bird but you know he’s a living creature so God loved him but
think about what things in your environment are there that make you
happy and things that aren’t you would like to
have in your environment or that would improve or enhance your environment for
example you know like I said I’m not so crazy about the cockatiel but I love the
outside birds so I hang up a bird feeder on our deck so I can watch the birds
come and eat and I love titmice chickadees and Cardinals those are my
three favorites that come thankfully they’re pretty popular so it’s easy to
get them to come but those make me happy I like watching them especially during
the winter when it’s all white outside those things make me happy
I like hummingbirds so I’ll put out hummingbird flowers and I grow
hummingbird flowers so they come I attract things into my environment that
make me happy because that’s going to increase my happiness and reduce my
sense of apathy a little bit because the more you increase your happiness you’re
not gonna feel elated right away but it’s gonna make you hopefully start
feeling a little bit more content like you know what there are some things in
this life worth living my life isn’t so bad this is kind of a cool day lighting
is something else you want to consider in terms of sights fluorescent lights
are very stressful and if they’re flickering like if a ballast is getting
ready to go out they can trigger migraines and seizures in some people so
try to get rid of the fluorescents Bowmore for the LED lights they’re
better for energy efficiency they don’t flicker they don’t have the
same kind of problems lights that are too dim will trigger your brain to start
scent making melatonin potentially and that’ll throw off your sleep cycles as
well as you’re eating cycles and if they’re too bright at the wrong times it
can mess up your circadian rhythms so you want to have a blue light filter on
all of your electronic devices after you know two hours before you go to bed so
your brain cues in that it’s time to start going to sleep and you also want
to dim the lights during those times to let your brain know that hey it’s almost
time for bed if you’re not getting enough sleep if you’re not getting
enough quality sleep you’re going to feel
depressed and I have other videos on that on our YouTube channel but what’s
important to recognize is that quality sleep is important to feeling rested
just sleeping for 10 hours ain’t gonna do it if you can get seven or eight
hours of good quality sleep you’re gonna feel eventually feel more rested and
rejuvenated it may take your body a week or two to kind of get into that cycle
but practice good sleep hygiene total room light is not necessarily necessary
some people especially people with a DD prefer to have just a bright light on
their desk and that’s totally okay if that works for you that way they’re not
seeing as much of the extraneous stimuli that might distract them smells are one of the strongest memory
triggers we have if not the strongest so when I talk about aromatherapy I’m not
necessarily talking about specifically using essential oils I’m talking about
thinking about the smells that make you go ah that smells good there are certain
fabric softeners that I really really like and certain fabric softeners but
not so much there are certain spices when I smell them like cloves and
cinnamon that bring back happy memories there are you know certain Coffee is
another one so think about the different types of smells that make you happy and
you can get the little wax tarts that you put in the things that you plug into
the wall they’re not expensive and it will really enhance the smell of any
particular room one thing that I was taught so you don’t get used to a smell
if you will put different smells in each room different types of tarts in each
room so you may have caramel in one and sugar cookie in another and coffee and
the third one so every time you walk into a different room your senses go oh
that’s new and it brings a little jolt but it also brings a little jolt of
dopamine like that’s a good thing baby powder pine
trees sugar cookies you know whatever it is some types of cleaners I told you all
before that pine-sol reminds me of my grandma’s house so what smells work for
you think about five different scents that help you feel energized and
clear-headed Rosemary’s a big one for me I love rosemary I grow rosemary outside
of our front front walkway because it smells so good when I go out there I
will use the rosemary you know once I cut it off the shrub I’ll make an
infusion and pour it over my hair after I condition so I’m smelling rosemary
throughout the day whatever it is that you like to smell peppermint and and
mint things don’t really do it for me but they do it for a lot of people so if
you’re a mint person more power to you think about ten ways you can distribute
fragrances to because I talked about the wax tarts and I gave you the little hint
of making infusions where you’re you’re boiling kind of making a tea with some
herbs drain it and then you’ve got a t-that that’s a better word for it that
you can use on your hair or you can spritz on your clothes or whatever
be careful if it has tannins in it because it can’t stain but anyway you
can put fragrances whether they’re essential oils or non essential oils on
a cloth in your sock drawer because that will permeate and make your socks smell
good on your pillow and I suggest putting it on the underside of your
pillow if you sleep on one side put it on the bottom of your pillow that way
you’re not sleeping directly on the the odor because that can be overwhelming
put it in a spray bottle and just spritz the room I will mix some of that fabric
softener that I like a little bit doesn’t take much in a 32 ounce spray
bottle and I’ll just periodically spray my comforter and in my room with it and
it smells good they have light bulb rings that sit on obviously light bulbs
and as the light bulb heats up the ring it disperses the aroma that’s in the
light bulb ring when I dust my ceiling fan blades I will use aromatherapy our
essential oils and I will you know wipe over my ceiling fan blades with them you
can get little sachets to put in your return vents for your air conditioner or
to put in your vent vents for your air conditioner there are tons of ways that
you can get smells get good smells to permeate your house and your environment
so try to think about creative ways that you can do it order and organization is
another one and you may not be somebody who is a complete neatnik and that is
cool I’m not I am NOT a super organized person but I like my bins you know I’ve
got a bin for active bills I’ve got a bin for paid bills I’ve cut you know
we’ve got bins in our house but occasionally you just need to declutter
and because things start building up so you can use the three box method but
keep it give it away or trash so every time you
something up you it either goes in to keep it box that give it away box or the
trash box if you’re a close hug one of the things you can do is the beginning
of the season or at the beginning of the year turn all your hangers around so
they’re facing the wrong way so they’re facing out instead of the right way as
you wear clothes put them back on the rack hanging the correct way then at the
end of the season or at the end of the year any clothes that are still hanging
the wrong way those get donated because you haven’t worn them for a year and
means you probably won’t wear them that’s one thing you can do with my kids
and sometimes with myself I will go into their room and make Mount Everest I will
clean off every single flat surface that there is and I will put it in a pile in
the middle of their room and that way they don’t have to think well where do I
start I’m like yes start at the top and their job is to clean Mount Everest
until it is gone and you know the floor is empty going along with that you can
do it a little more frequently is something I call flat surface itis and
that’s when a flat surface gets inflamed with all the crap that’s sitting on it I
don’t deal well with flat surface itis so it’s important that we go around or I
go around every single day and clean off all the flat surfaces otherwise when I
get up in the morning and I see piles of stuff on flat surfaces I get cranky and
I know that so you know I head it off at the pass and make sure that I go around
in the evening and clean off the flat surfaces ahead of time try to make your
house a home there’s a house you know somewhere where you can sleep and feel
safe but there’s also a lot you can do to make it a really warm welcoming place
so again you can go to this function way for dummies cheat sheet which has a lot
of great suggestions for easy things that you can do one of the things that
they point out in feng shui is that when you have your back to an area where
somebody can come up behind you adds stress so if you if your oven for
example faces a wall which most of ours do it’s ideal to put a mirror behind the
stove so you can see anybody coming up behind you it’s also ideal when you go
to sleep to have your head against a solid wall and to be able to see all of
the entrances and exits for an ideal restful environment so there are a lot
of little tips and tricks that you can do like that to make your house a home
walk into your living room today you know after this podcast whatever and
look around and say what does this room say about me and then when you figured
out what the room saying figure out if that’s what you want it to say and if it
does then cool you’re great if it doesn’t you know if it doesn’t really
communicate who you are and what you care about figure out how you can fix
that how you can adjust that and do just do one room a month because you know
redecorating can be expensive but do one room a month so you can have this month
you focus on your living room so the place that you spend a lot of your time
it really screams your name think about what you can do you know
when you’re doing this to make your environment more pleasant as well not
just more personalized but more pleasant what things do you want to have on the
wall you know what colors do you want what pictures do you want plants are a
great thing to have in your environment if you can if you have enough light to
keep them alive and you don’t have cats that are gonna eat them most house
plants are going to make cats kind of sick I’ve had a hard time finding
non-toxic house plants but I digress and think about furniture placement and
mirrors again making sure that you’re putting them in the least stressful
arrangements what can you do to make it smell more pleasant now sound we really
haven’t talked about much but you can put out wind chimes you can have you can
get little desk desktop or tabletop waterfalls or even the big ones that go
on the on the wall one of the things you want to look for with that is to make
sure it doesn’t splash out so look in the reviews to make sure whatever
waterfall you get says has reviews that says it doesn’t splash because that
causes all kinds of problems you can have ambient music on in the background
what do you want to hear do you want to hear nature sounds do you want to hear
classical music do you want to hear death metal what is it that makes your
house a home what kind of temperature do you like in my house my kids get so
irritable during the winter because I don’t turn the air-conditioner of the
heater up above 63 and they’re like mom is so cold in here I’m like well put on
some clothes it is January in Tennessee you do not need to be wearing short
sleeves and shorts you know put on some sweatpants and a sweatshirt and you’ll
be fine and they are but you know what temperature do you like to have your
house what smells we’ve talked about that what colors what kind of decor do
you like some people find the really clean lines of the ultra-modern
furniture relaxing I find it cold and you know not
inviting you know just depends on your preferences some people like to have
lots of white because it’s clean um me not so much you know I want to have
something that doesn’t show as much dirt do you like a farmhouse or a cottage
decor what makes you look at a room and go that that’s an awesome place to be so
flip through magazines you can go to the library and get books on interior design
you know so you’re not paying anything for them and you can look at different
ideas for things that you can do to personalize your house and what can you
do as far as lighting a lot of times when we look around our lighting in our
homes we realize that our lighting is really pretty poor so what types of
things can you do to adjust the lighting so it’s more inviting and energizing
during the day and more calming at night so your environment can contribute a
different feelings based on your prior experiences and personal preferences
remember smell is going to trigger a lot of memories so you know what may trigger
a happy memory for me may not trigger a happy memory for you in terms of smells
so it’s important to know what triggers the memories for you
environments that are too noisy bustling and chaotic can be exhausting for
introverts but environments that are too quiet and subdued can make extroverts
feel very depleted environments that trigger memories of happy times can help
you feel less alone more energetic and empowered so I know it’s not counseling
per se but it is really important to take a look around your environment
because you can do that today you can making some positive changes in your
little area today to start making it more inviting and relaxing even if that
means running up to the store and getting some kind of fabric softener
that you like all right thanks for being with me today and I will see you next
Sunday

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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