Soothing Sunday: Change the Lighting

Soothing behaviors don’t all require time to stop doing what you’re doing. That’s a great thing, because having been a single mother with three children I am well acquainted with the many times when that’s not an option!

One of my favorites is simply, changing the lighting. Are you anxious in a darkened room? Turn on a light or open the curtains.

Feeling uneasy at a park? Slip on some sunglasses.

Feeling like you’re just over the artificial lighting in a store? Step outside for a minute.

Changing the lighting is something that is being researched more in recent years, but therapists have known about how useful it was for much longer. When the lighting changes, what we see and experience changes. This is also something artists have used even back in the days they were making cave paintings. I’ve read that the figures at the Lascaux cave, when viewed by torchlight, appear to move. Impressive, isn’t it?

Horror movie? Light from the bottom.

Romance movie? Light from the top.

Family portrait? Light from everywhere!

What we see directly correlates to how we feel about what we’re seeing. It’s just how we’re wired.

For people who prefer a dark room (and I love every one of you little cave trolls hiding in your dark rooms!) reducing light creates a sense of calm. For people like me, who need as much sunlight as plants, opening those curtains and letting the light in provides a mental boost and relieves tension and even depression.

With the new smart bulbs, you can change the lighting on an even more subtle level. Make the light warmer or cooler from an app on your phone. I really enjoy the concept that we can shift our lighting to match our needs so completely. I haven’t made the switch just yet, but I plan to later this year.

Start practicing this one in your own life. Keep sunglasses on hand when you’re outside (cheap pairs from the local gas station/convenience store are fine for this so you don’t lose them and have to spend hundreds on a new pair). If your home is one that doesn’t let enough light in, look into adding a sunlight lamp, or making time to be outside. You can even get blue-light blocking glasses for use at a computer. There are loads of options.

Let me know what you think will help, and how you plan to use this insight. You never know when someone else will read your idea and decide it’ll help them, too!

 

 

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