7 Things at Home That Are Killing Your Concentration

featured this month on apartment therapy by Caroline Biggs

  image credit:    Diana Liang    via apartment therapy

image credit: Diana Liang via apartment therapy

Finding it hard to concentrate on things while you're at home? There might be some things in your space that could be working against you.

To figure out what items at home could be inadvertently killing our concentration and fussing with our focus, we called on Anjie Cho, architect and feng shui educator, for help. Read ahead to see what she had to say.

1. Poor lighting

According to Cho, lighting can make or break your ability to focus when you're at home. "Often it's a lack of lighting that affects your concentration," she explains. "When it's difficult to visually focus, it in turn affects your mental focus." She suggests setting a lighting scheme that closely resembles natural light, because it's "the most soothing to the eyes," and employing dimmers when necessary "so you have flexibility."

2. Sitting with your back to the door

"When you're sitting at your desk, or in a place where you're trying to focus and concentrate, it's beneficial to see the door to the room." Explains Cho, "When your back is to the door, your stress levels increase and part of your attention is in protection mode; who knows who can creep up behind you!"

…read full article


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Mindful Design Feng Shui: Improve Productivity with Desk Feng Shui

Check out our feng shui show & tell series! We should you how we have set up our own workspaces and desks.


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

Q&A Sunday: Kids Study Spaces and Where to Begin with Feng Shui

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I like your blog, it is so inspiring. I am new to feng shui and have 3 questions:
1. Is/are there any effective, specific knowledge/ items which help(s) kids to manage themselves to study or encourage(s) doing homework? I am a Tiger mum and have a Pig boy (June 3, 2007) and a Rabbit daughter (May 29, 2011). Based on this info, I would appreciate any recommendation. 
2. I want to practice feng shui. Where should I start ?
3. Do you ship outside the USA?

Oznur R., Turkey

Dear Oznur,

Thank you for your question and compliments, and welcome to the wonderful world of feng shui!

It’s awesome that you have so many questions; it means you’re really interested and curious. In feng shui, you’re encouraged to inquire, test and scrutinize the teachings. 

Your first question pertains to supporting children in their studies and education. In general, it’s recommended that when your son and daughter are doing their homework, they have a desk or a dedicated area to do their work. An area of the dining table is fine, as long as it’s clear and spacious, and accommodates them. When it is time for them to study, have this space become a real desk. It’s also important to locate them in the commanding position of the room, whether at a desk or another study area. This means that they can both see the entrance of the space, without turning their heads, but are not in line with the door. The best location is diagonal from the door. This way your children are in a relaxed place in their space so they can clearly focus on homework. There’s more information about the commanding position here, here and here.

You’re also a Tiger mother, and your son is a Pig. This tells me that you have a good, compatible relationship to begin with. Tiger and Pig are best friends and ideal companions. Your daughter is a Rabbit, so your relationship to her is neutral. But your Pig boy and Rabbit daughter also get along well, because they form a harmonious relationship (along with the Ram). By the way, be sure to check out our post where Beth Grace shares the forecast for each Chinese Zodiac animal this year.  

Your second question is about how to start studying and practicing feng shui. Well I have an exciting announcement! I’m starting a Mindful Design teaching program with my talented friend, Laura Morris. The program is set to launch in the fall of 2018, so keep an eye out! We're excited to teach feng shui from our shared Mindful Design perspective.

Last but not least, yes we do ship to Turkey for most items! You can email us at info@holisticspaces.com if you have any specific questions about that! Be sure to check out our new apothecary items… I think the Focus mist might be perfect for your little ones! 

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: A Kickstart for My Kickstarter

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How can I expand the mouth of qi for my Kickstarter? Anything, actually, to make it more successful!

Christy P., West Tisbury, MA

Hi Christy,

Thank you for your question about how to make your Kickstarter more successful. Kudos to you for using some feng shui terminology! The mouth of qi is the front door, or a portal, to a space and is an entry for energy to come into your life or home, or in this case, your Kickstarter. So really, this is a question of how to get more energy for your Kickstarter and make it more successful. 

In feng shui, we use the bagua map, and there are three different areas that can help create a more successful Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a place for you to attract Benefactors, so this would be one area for you to work on and improve: your Benefactors area. Next is the Recognition area, so that people know the Kickstarter even exists. And if you look at the bagua map above, we can create a triad (a triangle) including the areas of Benefactors, Recognition and Knowledge. These are the three ideal bagua areas for you to focus on. We actually refer to this as the Three Harmonies of Fire, and it can create a lot of recognition and fire for support. 

In order to get helpful people to support this project, you, of course, need to attract more people, but to do this, you need to be seen, which is where Recognition, Fame and fire come in. The last area is Knowledge, which includes skills and self-cultivation. Here, I encourage you to consider if you've done enough research and looked into ways to get your Kickstarter noticed. There is a lot of help available through feng shui, but my teachers have always said that the mundane solution is more important than the transcendental solution. So the magic will work, but you also need to do some heavy lifting yourself. 

Start with researching how to improve your Kickstarter (which you may have already done! But do it thoroughly). That, in correlation with the feng shui adjustments, can create success for you. Feng shui-wise, you can create more recognition by activating the three harmonies of fire in your office and/or on your desk. It can be as simple as, in the whole office space, adding a green plant. A living green plant can add fuel to the fire. If you're working with your desk and there isn't room for plants, you can use instead one nine-inch red ribbon in each of the three areas to activate them. The desk and/or office are spaces that connect to your career and business. 

Your product, electronic cases that protect us from EMFs, seems to be really interesting, and I hope that making these adjustments draws more attention to your campaign so that we can see these come to fruition!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Being Overlooked at Work

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I find I get overlooked at work. Can you suggest a feng shui cure for this?

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hi Giuliana

Thank you for your wonderful questions and support. I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling this way!

Nobody likes to feel overlooked, especially in the workplace. But you're in luck! There are many many ways to approach this concern from the feng shui perspective. The fame and Recognition area is the feng shui bagua map area for you! I think this area came up for you before in a previous Q&A

But before we work on the fame and Recognition area, it's helpful for you to look more closely at why you are feeling overlooked. We can give clarity to a problem by looking at it more carefully in light of the other feng shui bagua areas. Who is doing the overlooking? Why is it happening? Are there ways to work with it? Can you gain more skills and knowledge? Is there a relationship that can be improved? etc etc.

I challenge you to really look closely at that. If this were a consultation, I would of course like to know much more about the situation.

Now getting back to the Recognition and fame area, this would be the best area to address feng shui wise to receive more credit and acknowledgment. My intuition tells me it would be best for you to place a new green plant in the Recognition area of your desk at work, the same area of your desk at home and in the same area of your entire home. Use matching black pots with a red ribbon tied around the pot or plant. The plant adds Wood to feed the fire of Recognition. The color combination creates a powerful feng shui cure as Water (black pot) manifests the Wood (green plant) and culminates with Fire (red ribbon).

You can check out some of our posts on green plants and the Wood element for insight on what kind of plants to choose based on feng shui, indoor air quality and much more. Please keep us updated and feel free to share photos of your new green friends!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Dorm Rooms (And Other Tiny Spaces)

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First off I want to say that I truly love your podcast and have learned a great deal of knowledge from listening! I have a question: what are some tips for making a dorm room (small space) in college feel more open & aligned to feng shui principles? It sometimes hard in the dorm rooms because you do almost everything (sleep, eat, study, etc) basically all in the same space since the dorm rooms typically just have a bed, desk, chair and small closet.

Jenna F., Long Island, NY

 

Hi Jenna

Thanks so much for listening to my podcast! That makes me happy!

And thank you for offering your question about feng shui for a dorm room for a Q&A post.

Dorm rooms are similar to studio apartments, albeit smaller! And it is seemingly a challenge for the reasons you listed: it’s tiny and you do everything (sleep, eat, study) in one small space. I would add some other considerations: it’s temporary and many others have occupied the space. 

First plan of attack, laying the feng shui bagua map. It’s just as easy to lay the bagua map on the dorm room as it would be any other room or space. You can lay the bagua on the whole room, and don’t forget your desk. You’re living in a dorm room because you’re studying, so your desk represents your knowledge and studies. Perhaps it could be beneficial to activate the Knowledge area of your room, desk and bed to support your skills and education. You can use a dark blue piece of lapis lazuli, because it’s small but also it can stimulate the mind. Blue fluorite would also be great to help with focus and orderly thought.

You do a lot of different activities in a small dorm room, such as sleeping and studying, and while you’re studying this makes sense that the life areas are intertwined. When you’re in school, the focus is your education, and it will permeate all aspects of your life. But it’s still important to locate your bed and desk in the commanding position. If you can’t you set up a mirror, be sure to read or listen to our other information on the commanding position.

Lastly, since dorm rooms are transitory and there have been many other occupants as well as the energy of others, a regular space clearing may be helpful when feeling overwhelmed. I would suggest our No. 3 Space spray so you don’t need to burn anything, and it’s less intrusive for your dorm neighbors. I also think the temporal nature of the space is a wonderful reminder of the impermanence of life as well. So as challenges come up, it’s reassuring to remember this too shall pass.

Going to college is such an exciting experience, and I'm happy to hear you want to incorporate positive feng shui in this space. It can be so helpful with settling into a new space, especially a small one for studying! Good luck!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Business

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my inquiry. I am a Rooster, born on August 18, 1981. My house faces the east (my front door faces the east). My kitchen is in the NE, guest room is in the east and my son's bedroom is in the SE. Master's bedroom is in the SW, while living room/grand dining room is in the NW. In the west is our bathroom. I just started my business. However, I am having difficulty selling out my products. I am selling fashion bag charms / bag accessories. This is the first time the styles I have are sold in the U.S. I want to be a successful business owner, but I didn't expect it to be this difficult. Can you help me? What should I do?

Avvy C., Cleveland, MS

 

Hi Avvy,

Thanks for listening to the podcast and your question. First I wanted to explain that there are many schools of feng shui - dozens. The feng shui that I practice is BTB feng shui, and we do not use the compass directions in our analytics. If you’re interested in that, you can try a compass, flying star or classical feng shui consultant. My good friend, Beth Grace, may be a good option. She’s featured regularly on my new podcast mini-series “Astrology and Feng Shui”. Check out the podcast and Beth!

Otherwise, if you aren’t specifically looking for a particular school, BTB feng shui does, of course, give methods for improving your business. You did not mention an office in your home, so the first thing would probably be to look at the feng shui of your office. If you don’t have an office, that could be an issue. 

You also mention that you are selling something that is new to the U.S. When I work with a client, I ask a lot of questions at this point to pinpoint what the issue is. For instance, is the problem that you can’t get the business off the ground? Are there money issues? Are the products desirable; are they made well? Is it that people know about the product but don't want to buy? Or if only they knew about the product they would buy? And of course there are a slew of other questions; these are just a few.

In general, I would make sure you have an office space with a dedicated desk. Please make sure your desk is located in command of your space. There’s information in these articles about the command position. I also have a feeling that you need to work on the Recognition and Fame area, so that people know about your product. You can place something like a new green living plant in the Recognition area of your desk and home to add some fuel to fire up your recognition.

Hope that helps! Let us know and good luck with your new business!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


The Ins and Outs of Sick Building Syndrome

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Much of my work pertains to homes, apartments and other personal spaces, but the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) relates to your working environment as well. In modern times, we spend a little less than 1/3 of our time at work on average. That's a lot of time in the same space! Unfortunately, these spaces are often poorly ventilated and filled with a host of other issues that lead to sick building syndrome, which is as gross as it sounds. 

Sick building syndrome is a collection of symptoms that seem to be caused directly by spending time in a certain building, often an office. These symptoms can include anything from headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to smell to asthma attacks, flu-like symptoms and even personality changes! Long term, they can even lead to cancer, pregnancy difficulties and other more serious issues. Not only do these issues cause us to feel poorly, they can also result in higher incidents of missing work and difficulty being productive when we do make it in. 

These effects can be caused by many factors, including:

  • external pollution (think car exhaust, radon, asbestos, lead paint) that leaks indoors through ventilation
  • VOCs off gassed by a number of office supplies like manufactured wood furniture, carpet, printers and more
  • Off gassing from clothing, fragrances and personal products
  • Insect or vermin droppings 
  • Mold and mildew
  • EMFs from small appliances like microwaves
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Ventilation issues

The good news is that there are ways to avoid sick building syndrome, and while many of them are reserved as actions for landlords and building owners, some of them we can do at our desks! If you own a building you suspect of making people sick, take care to use proper ventilation, remove and replace water stained carpet, upholstery and ceiling tiles, aim to use materials that do not off gas as much, and educate yourself as well as possible to help prevent sick building syndrome in your space. Changing out your air filters regularly with HEPA filters can be very effective as well! 

If you're an employee in a sick building, be sure to bring the problem to the attention of someone who can make changes, but you can also consider bringing in a small air purifier for your office and adding plants to your desk and office space that can help to absorb harmful VOCs. Check out our favorite options

Generally the symptoms of sick building syndrome are relieved when you leave the building, but if you leave one place and head to another polluted place, you're not doing much good! So work to make your home as holistic and green as possible to give yourself a safe place to rejuvenate and heal from a long day at the office!

by Anjie Cho


Q&A Sunday: Blue Sodalite Healing Crystals

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I received a piece of blue sodalite last Christmas as a gift. What is the best way to use it as a healing crystal?

Sharon R., Danbury, CT

Hi Sharon, 

What a great question! As you may know, each natural stone has its own vibrations and special purpose, and blue sodalite is no different. 

Sodalite is associated with the throat and third-eye chakras and is especially helpful in finding your voice and intuition. If you are struggling to find your own way or truth, wearing or carrying blue sodalite can help you to better understand the truth of your life and sculpt your intuition. Intuition is a powerful and helpful force that each of us possesses, but sometimes it can be difficult to tap into to it with everything else going on in our minds. Imagine if you could always hear and follow your intuition! Blue sodalite can help!

Sodalite can also help you tap into creativity, which is something we hear about often lately. If your job requires creativity or if you are an artist or are just looking to be more creative in your everyday life, this stone can help.

Since sodalite is connected with the throat chakra, it can also be very helpful in supporting you as you speak your truth. You can carry with you or place it on your desk in the Knowledge area for extra support with your voice or speaking truth in your work. You can also place it in the bedroom Knowledge gua for the same in marriage or in life in general. 

Sodalite is a lovely gift and is very personalized! Perhaps you need to spend some time this year looking at and listening to your intuition! Whether you wear the stone, carry it or place it in an auspicious place, be sure to do so with intention, and it should bring you clarity and vision!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!