The next area on our “Wheel of Wellness (for Life Satisfaction)” is the YELLOW wedge that I call “Ambiance.”
The word “ambience” is originally a French word meaning the mood, feeling, environment, atmosphere, climate, or character, of a place or situation. Often in Lifestyle Medicine literature, you might hear the word, “Environment.” The reason I have chosen another word is because in my mind, “environment” does not convey enough depth for this area of wellness. To me, it conjures up something that is merely visible or physical. “Ambiance Solutions” here is much more involved. Consider the various areas where you are influenced by your surroundings. For instance, is your environment peaceful or hectic? Noisy or quiet? Are there smells of toxic chemicals? Are your electronics safe from excess EMF leakage? Is there appropriate lighting? Do you live or work around pleasant people? (Personalities can be just as “toxic” as chemicals or mold can be.) These are just a few ways our environment is not just the material surroundings.
Sometimes, one’s social or work setting alone can make life unbearable. You might call this “Atmospheric Pressure.” Someone living with an abusive spouse or difficult roommate could be adversely affected the whole day even when they’re at work and away from the painful experience. Consider also people who live with “invisible” toxic mold exposure in their home. They may have brain fog or headaches even out of the house because the mold gotten into their system over time.
If there are physical toxins causing reactions and allergies, you can have your house tested to make sure it is safe of chemical, radiation, radon, mold, etc. Additionally, you can tweak up the products you purchase by reading labels more carefully and asking questions. For instance, instead of buying very toxic chemical-laden sprays and such, you can purchase things with more natural ingredients or make them on your own. However, when there are “toxic people” in our environment (who we may not be able to remove or eliminate), we may need to find privacy or set very clear boundaries and “keep the environment safe and clean.” Obviously, if the person or people are amenable to discussing the impasses and or getting therapeutic help for their issues, this would be ideal.
How might we apply these ideas practically? Here are some ideas to consider regarding one’s workplace:
Do you have a pleasant working environment?
Is your workspace well lit?
Is there comfortable furniture?
Are the co-workers nice?
Do you get outdoors for breaks to enjoy nature?
Do you have pictures of loved ones, artwork or other items to personalize your space?
Can you diffuse a pleasant aroma there to enhance your mood? (In my office, I have a “daytime” aromatherapy diffuser, and in my bedroom, a “nighttime” diffuser. When I use it in the office, I use bright and cheery essential oils such as citrus aromas. Before bed, I usually use calming scents such as lavender.)
How might you make your workplace more pleasant and comfortable for optimal work?
Regarding the yellow wedge for ambience in the Wheel of Wellbeing,™ our goal is to create a beneficial setting for life and work. Cleaning up our environment physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically and in other ways can markedly enhance our overall wellbeing.
The bottom line is, your environment, which is multi-faceted, can positively or negatively affect you on many levels – emotional, social, spiritual, physical, etc. It is important to understand the powerful effect your ambiance has on your life, health and overall well-being. Once you are informed, you can intervene by removing problematic things, and/or enhancing it with positive elements.
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