Occasionally being out of control is a fact of life. No matter how hard we try to manage our responsibilities and keep our life clear of negativity, we’re only human. And that means we can’t always govern how things are going to go. But that doesn’t mean we’re completely at a loss. How we manage the energy in our lives can help ease those inevitable feelings of chaos and disorder, and aid in the achievement of peace and stability.

Feng Sh-what?

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art in which physical changes to your surroundings help smooth the flow of energy (aka “chi”) in your life, ultimately bringing harmony. Literally translated, Feng Shui means “wind and water”. These two natural elements exist fluidly in nature, constantly circulating the planet. Similar to wind and water, an ideal human life is one that moves sinuously over all of life’s ups and downs, effortlessly traversing any obstacles that get in the way. People, financial burdens, loss, anger – whatever those obstacles may be, balancing our energies through Feng Shui can help manage how we react to them.

So what is it, exactly? At a basic level – I’m sure one could spend a lifetime studying the intricacies of the practice – the purpose of Feng Shui is to align your environment with your intentions in life. In other words, Feng Shui is about harmonizing your internal energies with the external energies that surround you. There are countless ways to achieve this and, at the end of the day, the more aspects of Feng Shui you employ, the more results you’re going to see.

But as with anything, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. Delving into Feng Shui wholeheartedly is fine, as long as you don’t allow the practice itself to cause you stress. After all, that’s defeating the entire purpose! The following tips are designed to help teach you the basics of Feng Shui, and guide you on your journey toward balance. Take it slow, remember to breathe, and let the magic of harmony transform your life!

Feng Shui in your body

What if I told you that the first step to balancing energy in your body was as easy as simply being? Stillness, solitude and relaxation are vitally important for your body and your mind, and can make a huge difference in your physical and mental wellbeing. Meditation is the obvious way to enter this state of stillness, but it can also be achieved by paying closer attention to your energy expenditure. What are you spending your energy on? How often? What drains you?

Once you’ve determined the “energy sucking” aspects in your life, you can start to make some changes. This doesn’t mean quitting you job or getting rid of your children, it just means making a few subtle adjustments to your schedule. Make time for self-care. Take a weekly Qi Gong or restorative yoga class. Permit yourself to sleep in for an extra hour on Sundays. Whatever you decide you can swing, do it. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have any energy left to give to others.

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Photo by Corynn Fowler Photography

In addition to physical depletion, there’s probably a large chunk of emotional energy stuck somewhere in no-man’s-land. Whether it’s lingering in the past or worrying about the future, this energy could be put to much better use elsewhere: here and now. The solution? Learn to let go. Easier said than done, of course, but everything can be achieved with dedication. Start to harness your misplaced energy, wherever it may be, and use it for nourishment rather than worry. Worry does not help you – it eats you. So let it go.

Balancing energy in your body eases stress, decreases risk of disease, boosts confidence, minimizes self-doubt, provides mental clarity, aids with sleep, clears skin, speeds up metabolism, intensifies creativity, and ultimately increases happiness. Worth a shot, if you ask me.

Feng Shui in your home

First and foremost, declutter. It should be pretty easy to determine which of the things you’ve accumulated over the years no longer serve you. Gather them up into two piles: donate and sell. Both actions will offer you more than the things themselves. Less clutter in your space = less clutter in your mind = more productivity.

Beyond decluttering, there are quite literally hundreds of ways to apply Feng Shui in your home – nearly as many as the number of how-to articles and blog posts available on the topic. So I won’t waste my time (or energy). Instead, I’ll tell you a few ways that I’ve personally increased the flow of energy in my living space:

  1. Plants. Too many to count.

Studies have shown that adding a little greenery to your home will cultivate compassion and reduce fatigue. Plants also purify the air and deepen your connection with nature – extremely important in Feng Shui. Look for plants with large, round leaves and avoid sharp plants like cacti and Aloe Vera (despite their appeal). I place all my plants in the main room of my home to better reap their benefits.

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It’s also important to note that dead or dying plants attract negative energy, so know when it’s time to say goodbye.

  1. Mirrors. Again… too many to count.

I’m sure many first-time guests in our home get the impression that we’re extremely vain people. We have mirrors everywhere. Known as the “aspirin” of Feng Shui, mirrors are extremely powerful and offer many benefits if used correctly. Use mirrors in your home to make rooms seem bigger and reflect more light. Placing them across from each other will increase this effect. Mirrors are also very calming, so they’re a great addition to chaotic homes.

If you have children, invest in at least one full-length mirror. This will allow them to see themselves completely rather than “chopped”, contributing to an improved self-image.

  1. Colour

Colour has more of an effect on your mood and energy than you might think. Earth tones, for example, promote stability and calm. Whites and silvers support clarity. Red stimulates passion and warmth, while green attracts money. There are countless articles and books that have been written on the power of colour and how it pertains to your life, so do a quick online search to determine what hues will best suit your needs.

If you’re like me and live in a rented space, painting may be out of the question. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use colour in other ways. Items like pillows, accent rugs and even clothing can be chosen based on what colours you require more of in your life – plus, they’re a great way to spruce up your space!

  1. Light

I’ve never been a fan of curtains. The privacy factor is nice, but I find them a bit dingy so they only reside on a few of my windows. It goes without saying that natural light is extremely important for our wellbeing. It makes us more productive, calms us down, enhances our immune systems and combats depression.

In homes with less windows… wait for it… buy some lamps! Purchase a few coloured shades for a different feel, or get an essential oil diffuser with interchangeable coloured lights built in. Salt rock lamps are also great – they add soft light and pull toxins out of the air, especially those associated with technology.

  1. Fresh air – a top Feng Shui priority

This isn’t an aspect of Feng Shui that I’ve applied to my home, per se, although I do tend to open the windows the moment the temperature rises above zero. Rather, I make nature my home. During the summer months, I camp and hike and spend countless hours on the balcony soaking up the sun. It’s harder when the weather is cold, admittedly. But there’s something about those bitter days that makes the air seem so pure. Try walking to work every once in a while, especially when the days are short and it’s your only chance to breathe some fresh air. It goes without saying that fresh air works wonders when it comes to stimulating chi and finding balance.

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Not a nature lover? I highly advise you start to cultivate a relationship with mother earth but, in the meantime, invest in an air purifier. It’s a simple way to remove toxins from the air. Using essential oils through diffusion is another great way to improve air quality, and reap the benefits of some additional health-enhancing properties to boot.

Other ways to promote the flow of energy in your home? Throw away anything that’s broken. Don’t allow electronics in your bedroom. Always keep a bowl of fresh fruit (never rotten!) in the kitchen. Keep toilet bowls closed (yes… according to Feng Shui, toilet bowls are considered “energy sucking”). Keep your front entrance clean and tidy.

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While some aspects of Feng Shui are difficult to grasp, others resonate quite naturally within us. Which of these aspects you choose to incorporate into your own life, if any, is ultimately up to you. Keep in mind that Feng Shui needs to be embraced, not just acted upon. In other words, you need to believe.

Happy harmonizing!