What if your kitchen made you feel more connected to yourself and the planet in a way that grounded you, reduced anxiety, lowered stress and cortisol levels—helping heal your body, mind, and spirit, and aiding overall wellness? Well, it can. Below, I’ve shared three tips to help you get started on this journey.
A kitchen is more than beautiful countertops and appliances. It represents energy that can nourish you. It’s also symbolic of the ancient tribal gathering place—where people came together, shared stories, and communed with one another. We still have echoes of these memories in our DNA. Even though we’re living in modern homes, our brains still respond to our environment just as they did when we were living in nature.
And, since we’re not living in nature anymore, your home doesn’t just need to be functional; it also needs to restore your soul. The design of your space has a direct and powerful influence on your mood. Science has proven that your surroundings directly impact your behavior.
Stress degrades your physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being, and it’s something I try to eliminate with design. If you reduce subconscious stressors in your environment, your mood will improve, you’ll be better at problem-solving, think more creatively, and get along better with others. You’ll also make better food and other choices.
I used to think designing a kitchen was all about aesthetics, craftsmanship, and ergonomics. Now it’s about something less tangible—an understanding of what kinds of environments make people feel happiest at home.
Color, texture, fine details, shapes, movement, touch, smell, layout, artwork, materials, lighting, views, and personal space are some of the experiences that affect your mood and behavior by triggering your fight or flight response. If designed correctly, your kitchen can help calm you instead.
How? Our senses are ancient, and the same instincts we had thousands of years ago that helped us survive and create positive, calming, mood-boosting experiences can still help us today.
Your kitchen plays a massive role in your mental and physical health. Here, three scientifically based tips from my program to help optimize this space for wellness:
- Materials – Did you know that seeing wood grain de-stresses people? This can be hardwood floors or cabinets. Really good imitation wood has the same effect as long as it looks natural, and the grain and knots aren’t repeated. Our primitive brains remember how calming it is to be in the forest, and it’s part of our DNA.
- Color – Relaxing colors, like light green, are best in spaces where you want to eat responsibly. Have you ever eaten at a health-conscious restaurant or cafe? What color is all around you? Green! By the way, color also influences the food, the color of the food, and the way you digest the food.
- Organization – Have you ever tried to eat healthfully in a cluttered kitchen? It’s almost impossible, because cluttered spaces trigger unhealthy eating. We also tend to eat more unhealthy snacks in spaces that are cluttered or disorganized. Women are especially sensitive to clutter and gain more weight around their midsection due to higher cortisol levels.
Wellness goes beyond a trip to the gym or eating a keto diet. It means paying attention to everything and anything that affects your body and senses, which in turn impacts your cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, reproductive, muscular, and respiratory systems.
Your environment is affecting you every single day whether you notice it or not. Here’s the secret: It’s hidden in the design.
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