Environment and Anxiety
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The idea that our environment and anxiety might be related seems reasonable if we look at some credible sources
I found a very helpful thesis: Understanding Healing Environments: Effects Of Physical Environmental Stimuli On
Patients’ Health And Well-Being by Karin Dijkstra through the University of Twente Utpublications, in the
While the thesis looked at the issue in the context of institutional healthcare environments, it was noteworthy
that stress reducing effects were found when indoor plants, classical music, and wall colours were integrated into
the environment (although colours were dependent on personal characteristics--but more on this later). This
seems to be supportive of a possible link between environment and anxiety.
The author indicated that these findings add to the body of evidence that the physical healthcare environment
can make a difference in how quickly patients recover or adapt to specific acute and chronic conditions. For
someone suffering from anxiety, an environment that is stress free and integrates these suggestions might be quite
helpful for recovery.
While you may have limited control over all environments in your life, your home can be enhanced. It
doesn’t matter whether your home is modest or large, whether you own your home, rent an apartment – whatever - you
can make it comfortable.
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. provides some suggestions on his website that I think could be utilized for those
interested in possibly applying information about their environment and anxiety to support their evidenced based
- Bring things from the outside into your home. In other words things like green plants, cut flowers and
blooming bulbs, or pieces of wood, rocks. The idea being that they can create a feeling of nature
- Choose paint colours for your walls that make you feel relaxed. Remember in the above thesis it was
mentioned that colours depended one's personal characteristics? Well some suggestions are that blue and green
promote a relaxed feeling and may be good choices for the bedroom, while warm colours (maroon, coral, burgundy)
suggest a cozy environment and may be inviting in a family room. You can choose what is
- Include beautiful things in your home such as artwork, fragrance, smooth textures and calming sounds all
provide a pleasant environment in which to relax.
- Have a room in your home that can be a dedicated place of calm and relaxation. A place for spiritual
reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.
- Keep things neat and tidy and organized. A low-maintenance home is refreshing after a day of hectic
meetings, errands and chores. Fewer items can mean less frustration.
- Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends throughout your
I hope you have enjoyed this article. While I think factors such as one's environment are a great adjunct
to for helping with your anxiety, focusing on evidenced based techniques can allow one to deal with his/her overall
anxiety across a variety of environments. I cover these in detail in my free newsletter on anxiety, panic attacks,
and agoraphobia. To get started on the road to recovery from anxiety, enter your email address below.