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  • Denise Frakes

5 Essentials of a Healing Home: The Ripple Effect

Do you ever think about what makes your home a healing home? How your environment impacts your health & happiness? How you impact your environment and others? There is a synergy to living. There is a ripple effect. Have you heard of the butterflies effect?


"The butterfly effect rests on the notion that the world is deeply interconnected, such that one small occurrence can influence a much larger complex system." The Decision Lab


I continue to witness and be amazed how much our environment effects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. How interconnected we are impacting each other and the environment around us.


Perhaps it's time we starting thinking more in terms of healing environments and what we can do to create such environments. Creating healing spaces for our own health, for those near and dear to us...and for that ripple effect we all have.


This week I'm facilitating a discussion on the 5 essentials of a healing home. By no means is this list complete or even in the order you may need. I encourage you to spend time looking around your own home and community- inside and out. What is healing? What is diminishing? What needs more TLC? What do you need more of and what do you need less of? What would your own essentials list look like?


1. A healing home is safe.

What happens to us when we're chronically on edge, afraid and over stimulated? Us humans and our animals friends are created to have times of action and a balance of times for rest/replenishing. Our culture cheers on the over drive but not as much for our time and space to ponder- wonder, replenish and rejuvenation. In this space of ease we heal best.


If your neighborhood is unsafe, if your TV is always on, if you are on auto working pilot, if you are chronically stressed...your beautiful parasympathetic system never gets a chance to do it's magic.


"The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s relaxation response, and it also plays a large part in regulating digestion, heart rate, and breathing." WbMD


Creating a space, a community, a lifestyle that nourishes your sweet calmness, your breath, your digestion is essential.

When chronic stress lowers your immunity rises, your healing improves, your communication skills increase, your problem solving ability increases. We function better on all levels.


"Many of the nerves connecting to the parasympathetic system are located in the lower lobes (of your lung), which is one of the reasons long and slow breaths are so relaxing." James Nestor Breath pg 144 More on deep breathing and a short video on how to



2. A healing home is healthy

If your environment is unhealthy- the one you spend most of your time.... your ability to heal is diminished and the potential for you to become unhealthy is increased.


"A healthy home is one that is dry, clean, safe, ventilated, free of pests and contaminants, well maintained, and thermally comfortable. In addition, homes should be affordable and accessible to all people, regardless of age or ability." National Center for Healthy Housing


When I was getting my training for healthy homes two things stood out.


A. I asked the the question of Dan a retiring healthy home's mentor: If you could only change one thing to improve a homes' health what would it be?

His Answer: improve air quality. 1. Add fresh air. 2. Remove stagnate and contaminated air (open windows and exhaust fans). 3. Circulating air. 4. Cleaning air with filters such as a HEPA filter or the DYI box/filters (When bringing in fresh air- check air quality outside airnow.gov)


B. The other ah-ah moment was understanding just how toxins get in our bodies in the first place. (trust me, they are way easier to prevent than remove!!!)

3 ways toxins and contaminates get in out bodies

  1. We breathe them....we inhale them in

  2. We Ingest them... we eat and drink them in

  3. We absorb them...we rub them in, apply them, put them on, sit on them...

By understanding how toxins get in we are empowered to start making changes. What are you eating and drinking? What you we applying to our skin? What are you putting in our air?


3 things you can do: 1. stop spraying and putting chemicals in the air and plugging in things that get into your air. 2. Don't put things on your body that you wouldn't want to eat. (also please stop using fragranced laundry products) 3. Eat whole- real food and drink clean water. (check out the dirty dozen and clean 15)



3. A healing home is connected

Being connected probably wouldn't have been on my top 5 list 2 years ago. Thankfully I'm still learning and now it's an easy top 5. COVID disconnected us, although we were pretty disconnected even prior to COVID. We need community.


We are wired to be in community, connected. When we feel excluded, disconnected and in conflict we struggle. Our happiness is intertwined with the world around us. When you feel loved, seen, cared for, when you help others, reach out...your happiness grows. When we are in community we are in a circle. If you want to age well...building community is a great place to start. The Blue Zone- communities are are excellent teacher for us. Here we can learn from our elders and their wise and simple lifestyles.


Connection can come in many ways. Being present with the moment, connected to nature and beauty. Connected to community, friends, family, pets. Connection is essential. Babies do not thrive without connection...we never grow our of this need.


"The term blue zones was first coined by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow and journalist, during an exploratory project he led in 2004. After an expedition to Okinawa, Japan in 2000 to investigate the longevity there, he set out to explore other regions of the world with reportedly high longevity." Blue Zones



4. A healing home has healthy Feng Shui- Flow

The flow, the state of our home is another place to cultivate a healing home. For years I've worked/ played/explored...with my clients teaching, coaching and learning about on clutter clearing and creating space. When I think of clutter I think of stagnation, chaos, too much, overwhelm. We live in a world and time where overabundance is the norm. Joshua Becker just wrote a fantastic article on this.

You know those homes and spaces where as soon as you enter, your breath comes back into your body. You body relaxes. You will physically feel at ease and at home. This is a sign you are in a healing home. Downsizing isn't about removing everything but about finding that space- where you breathe.


Best 2 starts to creating healthy Feng Shui - Flow in your home...

1. Cleaning and tidying up. This is a natural time tested reboot. It creates flow

2. Uncluttering. Clutter is muddled energy. It blocks and slows it down.


If want to relax your nervous system- Clean for health. Drop the mass use of toxic cleaning projects. Simplify your cleaning products to: baking soda, dish soap, vinegar and microfibers. Get a quality vacuum and excellent entrance mats. Clean for the health and happiness not perfection. The gentle act of tidying up is in fact magical.


One of my personal favorite books on home care is Simply Imperfect- revisiting the wabi-sabi house by Robyn Griggs Laurence


Healing spaces are free of heavy clutter and things that deplete us. They are not perfect, always leave a little room for creative play. You want a home that if someone spills milk it's not a big deal.



Uncluttering is the soulful and intentional practice of removing what causes you harm, depletes and overwhelms you. It is discovering what you love, actually need, what you use (not just wish or plan but use). Uncluttering removes the ongoing internal mental chatter that too much stuff does to your brain. Less gives you freedom and space to thrive.


Feng Shui is an ancient art of creating space and flow. You can do all kinds of things with your home to improve it's flow but please start with the first two steps: uncluttering and cleaning- they are powerful actions of health for your mind, body, spirit.


5. A healing home is natural, nurturing and includes nature

This home, may not have all the bells and whistles. It can be small, medium or large. It isn't perfect and yet deeply nourishing. When you walk into such a space your energy- your mind, your body and spirit all know it. You feel at ease, welcome, happy, safe. This is the kind of place you want to stay. Your breath will expand, deepen and soften. Your mind can relax. A smile spontaneously appears.


"A healing environment is defined as one that has a nurturing and therapeutic effect. Studies show that well-designed hospital environments can reduce patients’ anxiety and stress, accelerate recovery, shorten hospitalizations, reduce medication use, lessen pain, and promote a sense of well-being." Creating a Healing Hospital Environment


A healing home has natural light, fibers and materials. In the kitchen you will find more glass, stainless steel and cast iron vs non stick coated pans. This home will smell of home cooking. A pot of soup is bubbling in the stove. This is a durable home. One that will live for centuries not months. This home is sustainable not disposable. It cares for you, and doesn't deplete. This is a space you can bring in friends and family and even strangers in need.


Nature is naturally healing. Going outside into nature is the best way to get more nature in.. When I moved to the NW from Colorado, depression appeared. Nature and whole foods saved me. Now everyday at least for a little bit I go outside...rain, snow, everyday. This keeps me happy and healthy.



Bonus # 6 A healing home has kindness, love and play

5 was going to be my list but today I opened up my news and saw a massive shooting...and then there are the wars and disconnection we are all feeling in our world. So #6 asked be be added. We don't have control of world peace and yet maybe we can help.


When you go about your day...start intentionally practicing acts of kindness. Open doors, help others, check on neighbors. Call family and friends. Mediate on peace and kindness. Send unconditional love out to places in need of TLC. Kindness is a verb an action.

Turn off the news, take a pause and meditate on love, on beauty, on peace.

We are all responsible for the health of our home...and our home is bigger than our house. We ripple out...what are you rippling outward?


And play, I know there is lots to do, lots of need...but if we forget to play we age. Play is good medicine for homes, families and communities. Play helps restore our nervous systems.



"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stope playing. George Bernard Shaw


“If we focus on what's ugly, we attract more ugliness into our thoughts, and then into our emotions, and ultimately into our lives”

“Remove all unloving thoughts from your mind, and practice kindness in all of your thoughts, words, and actions. Cultivate”


Ok there you go, my 6 essentials for a healing home. I've got one more link and a movie to watch. For the link, this study has stayed in my thoughts for at least a decade. It's called rat park. How when one scientists looked for what would happen to rats when they put in a healing environment. 4 minute video about rat park

For the movie, remember Trading Spaces with Eddie Murphy? What happens when our environment is different. Before we judge someone for how they are acting or feeling...this includes ourselves....check our environment. Is it healing- nurturing? Do you feel safe, connected, nourished and nurtured? Is your home healthy? Has your home got healthy flow- how do you feel in your surroundings? Your home...and outward circles of space?


Finally,

This is blog and the talk I'm leading isn't the end. This is a beginning conversation. What can you do? What can I do? What can we do together? There is a lot going on in the world...we can make a difference even if it's a simple as getting a good nights rest and saying hi to your neighbor. We all ripple.


Happy Exploring and Creating,

Denise



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