9 Feng Shui Tips to Make You Healthier and Happier

You might not realize how much your environment impacts all other areas of your life, but living in a house or apartment that's cluttered, dark or just doesn't feel right, or working in an office that's cramped and windowless can make you feel energy-depleted and depressed. Although you could hire an interior designer to spruce up your space, you might not be digging deep enough to make a major change in your mood and energy level. That's where feng shui comes in. More than just a method of interior design, feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of enhancing your environment according to energy flow and living in harmony with nature to improve your well-being. The following slides reveal a few easy feng shui tips and tricks you can use right now to improve your environment and increase your health and happiness levels.

To Start: It's All About Chi

At the heart of feng shui is chi, meaning energy or life force, which flows through you and everything around you. When it's flowing freely, chi can enhance your health and happiness. However, when it becomes stagnant or gets stuck, it can make you feel sluggish and moody. The flow of chi in your environment can be hindered in many ways and for many different reasons. A picture you don't like in your bedroom that brings up negative thoughts can cause chi to get stuck. And that same negative energy can build up after an argument with your spouse and also cause stagnant chi. The goal of good feng shui is to get the positive energy flowing to where it's needed to revitalize your environment and invigorate your life.

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1. Clear the Way for Chi

Those knick-knacks on your bookshelves that have no meaning and just gather dust do nothing to get your chi flowing freely. Neither does that growing pile of unopened mail on your desk. All this clutter blocks chi and dampens your mood and energy levels. “Your home is basically a representation of you -- it is you,” says Katherine Graham, a master-level feng-shui consultant in Atlanta, GA. “If you imagine the walls are your skin and the rooms are your organs and the hallways are like your veins, you don't want to have piles of newspapers blocking the flow of energy through your home, just like you wouldn't want to have blockages in your body.” To clear the way for chi, get rid of anything that doesn't have meaning for you or that creates negative energy. When it comes to good chi, less is more.

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2. Find Your Yin and Yang

Health and happiness depend in large part on creating and maintaining balance in your life. That harmony in your environment is expressed through yin and yang. “Yin and yang can be thought of as two opposing sides of the same mountain: one is bright, one is dark; one is feminine, one is masculine,” explains feng-shui expert Katherine Graham. “Everything is some expression of yin or yang.” That includes the color of your walls, the amount of light your bedroom gets and the sounds of the music you play during dinner. In order to create an environment that promotes health and happiness, you must strive for balance between these two aspects.

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3. Balance Your Yin and Yang

A yin environment is more feminine, more subdued, while a yang environment is louder, brighter, more frenetic. “If you have too yin of a home, over time, you can become depressed,” says feng-shui consultant Katherine Graham. “And if you have too yang -- too upbeat -- a home, over time, you could suffer from exhaustion or burnout.” Creating a good balance to promote health and happiness in your environment has to do with your life stage, your natural rhythms and your unique energy requirements. As you get older, a more yin environment is usually appropriate, while younger individuals might feel more energized by a yang-leaning space, explains Graham. If you're feeling lethargic at home, look around you -- is your space too yin? Try painting one wall a brighter color or tossing some vibrant throw pillows on the couch. If you're stressed to your breaking point, you might be surrounded by too much yang. In that case, muted tones and softer lighting can be introduced for a quick, calming fix.

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4. Bring Serenity to Your Bedroom

The feng-shui trinity -- the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen -- are the most important areas of your home when it comes to health and happiness. The bedroom is the last room you see at night and the first room you see in the morning. Bedrooms should be more yin spaces, with softer colors and more feminine touches. Most important, however, is to never “bring your boss to bed,” as feng-shui consultant Katherine Graham calls it. “Don't work in your bedroom, don't have an office in your bedroom, don't even think about work in your bedroom,” she says. “You want to create a sexy, sacred space that's meant for love, rest and renewal.”

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5. Clean Out Your Kitchen and Bathroom

A messy, cluttered kitchen or a fridge full of old, expired food is a clear reflection of your health status. “The Chinese say always keep your stove clean, always keep your fridge decluttered, never eat from chipped or cracked cookware or pottery,” says feng-shui consultant Katherine Graham. Be scrupulous about keeping an immaculate kitchen, get rid of any old or unused appliances or cookware and throw out any food past its expiration date. “Having a mindful attitude about what you keep in your kitchen reflects in how you feed and take care of yourself,” says Graham. Self-care is also reflected in how you keep your bathroom. A perma-ring of sludge around the toilet bowl, aside from being unsanitary, is most likely creating negative energy every time you open the lid. Do a thorough cleaning then keep up on weekly maintenance for a cleaner, happier, healthier you.

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6. Lighten Up Your Environment

There are certain places in your home that you want to be dimly lit -- such as your bedroom just before sleep -- but overall, a space with good feng-shui has good lighting. If your house or apartment has lots of windows and feels light and airy, you're all set in that department; but many living spaces simply aren't set up optimally to let the light in. To start, feng-shui expert Katherine Graham recommends opening your bedroom curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning. “We need to be exposed to light within the first hour of waking up or our circadian rhythms get completely out of whack,” Graham says. The same goes for other spaces you enter early in the morning -- the kitchen and bathroom, for example. Your workspace should also be well-lit. If you can't get enough natural light, you can strategically place mirrors on walls facing windows to reflect more light. Graham also suggests investing in a light box, the same kind use to relieve seasonal affective disorder 2.

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7. Bring Nature Inside

Harmony with nature is one of the tenets of ancient feng-shui philosophy, and it's even more important today, in a world that is largely man-made and manufactured. You probably know the feeling of being disconnected from nature if you live in a highrise apartment with a view of nothing but cityscape. Remedy the disconcerting disconnect by bringing elements of nature into your home. “Plants are always good in feng shui because they're the wood element and that represents upward growth,” says feng-shui consultant Katherine Graham. In addition, plants help clean the air you breathe. Make sure to keep your plants in good health and avoid artificial plants or dried flowers when possible, cautions Graham.

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8. Spruce Up Your Workspace

Whether you work from home or you work in an office, you can create a healthy, happy workspace by applying the same tips for the home. Make sure you have adequate natural or full-spectrum artificial lighting and incorporate elements of nature into your decor. A few potted plants can improve the air quality of your office and invite good energy into your workspace. In addition, the position of your desk in relation to the door of your office or cubicle can influence your professional success 3. You want to be situated in command position, which means your desk should be oriented so that you're facing the center of the room and have visual control of the room and its entrance 3. This will make you feel more at ease and allow your creative energy to circulate more freely.

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Feeling Happier and Healthier Yet?

You don't have to be a feng-shui master to create a healthier, happier environment at work and at home. Even making a few small changes -- such as buying a few plants or creating more light -- can have a significant effect on how you feel. Have you tried any of these feng-shui tips? Have they worked for you? Do you have any tips of your own to share? Leave your comments, questions and suggestions below. We're always happy to hear from our readers.

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