By Lea McLellan
So you pulled an all-nighter cramming for your biology test, but as soon as your number two pencil hit the scantron sheet, you promptly forgot everything you had studied the previous caffeine-fueled night. Before you decide to change your major, think about whether or not your dorm room might be partly to blame.
Even for people who have never heard of feng shui, the idea that a person's state of mind is reflected in their living space (or vice versa) seems pretty intuitive. Wouldn't you feel calmer and more competent studying at a clean, organized desk than at a desk piled high with old pizza boxes and clutter? According to feng shui philosophy, whether you live in a mansion, a studio apartment, or even a tiny dorm room, you can improve your life and increase your happiness by rearranging the objects in your home and creating a warm, inviting living space.
In Chinese, "feng" means wind and "shui" means water. These two elements are symbols for creating chi flow. Chi is the vital energy that inhabits and flows through all living things. Even though everyone and everything possesses their own chi (even inanimate objects like couches and lamps) it is possible for chi to become blocked or misdirected. This can cause distress, bad luck, and inner turmoil. Following the principles of feng shui allows you to harness good chi and avoid bad energy (sha) in order to maximize your chi flow, ultimately leading to a happier and contented life!
Using the concepts of chi, sha, and by implementing some simple feng shui principles, you can transform any space into a chi-friendly zone, thus maximizing your creativity, improving your relationships, and achieving success in school and work. Clearly, feng shui is a lot more than just interior design. The philosophy can quickly become complicated and even intimidating, especially if you are working within the small and limiting confines of a dorm room.
Roommates, small spaces, and bolted down furniture may threaten to foil your feng shui plans, but don't get hung up on things you can't change. While you may not be able to implement every principle of feng shui you read about, there are simple and quick changes anyone can make that, according the feng shui, will have lasting positive impacts on your relationships, work, and stress levels.
Feng Shui Quick Fixes:
- The first and perhaps most important thing you can do to promote better chi flow is to get rid of clutter. Keeping your room clean and organized promotes productivity, happiness, and peace of mind.
- Your college dorm is small enough without filling it up with unnecessary objects. Don't be a pack rat. Get rid of all the old clothes, books, papers, and anything else that you don't want or need. When packing for college, only bring the essentials. Eliminating old, unused objects from your room will free your mind and open you up to new ideas and experiences.
- Embrace natural light. If you don't have a window, or your sunlight is limited, try to keep your room bright with lamps and bright colored posters or tapestries. Light will increase your productivity and get your creative juices flowing.
- Water has a very important place in feng shui. Flowing water symbolizes healthy, moving chi. If possible, set up a small fountain in your room. If that isn't going to happen, find some other way to incorporate water into your room, even if it's just symbolic.
- Colors also play a large role in feng shui. Certain colors influence your mood in specific ways. "Warm" colors like reds, oranges, and yellows are stimulating and exciting. "Cool" colors like purples, blues, and greens are relaxing. You might want to pick cool colors for your bed are and warm colors for your desk, where you want to be energized.
- In an ideal situation, you wouldn't do your home work, eat, and chat with your friends in the same room that you sleep. Your bedroom should be a place of calming respite from the rest of your hectic life. Keeping your laptop and school work near your bed could negatively affect your sleep and cause stress. If you can, try to find some way to visually separate your bed from the rest of your room. For example, you could try hanging a sheer curtain from the ceiling to create a barrier between your bed and your workspace.
- Bring something from nature into your room, like a small plant or fresh flowers. Plants have good chi flow because they are constantly breathing in and expelling energy. If you don't trust yourself to care for a plant, a photo of something from nature could have similar benefits.
- Display photographs of your family and friends or special keepsakes throughout your room. Seeing these items will elicit happy memories and improve chi flow.
- Hang mirrors on your wall or on place one on your desk. The mirror will reflect energy, bring more light into the room, and create the illusion of a larger space. Be careful not to position your mirror so that it is facing towards your bed. This creates a negative chi flow.
- Furniture placement is also important. While the small size of a dorm room can make it difficult to rearrange furniture, try your best to make sure that your bed is facing the direction of the doorway, but is not directly in line with it. This way, energy from the outside world is let in, but will not come in so strong as to disrupt your chi flow. The part of the wall furthest away diagonally from the entry, stationed against a solid wall is the ideal spot to place your bed.
These feng shui tips can be used to generate good chi flow to that will increase your energy levels and benefit your life over all. Keep in mind that this is a simplified version of feng shui and the philosophy can get much more complex. Even so, stressing out about the location of your desk or fighting with your roommate about the color of his or her bedspread isn't going to have a positive influence on your mental wellbeing. Follow the tips that are possible for you and experience how the ancient principles of feng shui can transform your space and your state of mind.