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!"

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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: Sun Moon Mirror

Sun Moon Mirror.jpg

I am very interested in purchasing your Sun Moon Mirror; however, I was hoping you could provide me with a few more examples of how I may use it. I have been trying to research it a bit on the Internet but have not found any valuable information on the topic. I appreciate any assistance that you can provide regarding the item.

Teneale S., Alberta, Canada

Hi Teneale,

Thanks for your interest in the Sun Moon Mirror.

Sun Moon Mirrors are sacred ritual objects used for many purposes in BTB Feng Shui. Mirrors are quite useful in feng shui adjustments, but these Sun Moon Mirrors can be used as a more powerful version in most feng shui cures that require mirrors. They are double sided and are powerful because the sun side of a Sun Moon Mirror has been exposed to 24 hours of sunlight and the moon side to 24 hours of moonlight. They’re a challenge to make, because your attention to the process is important, and can also take a great deal of time, as cloudy days are not effective for empowering the mirror(s). You don’t want the sun side to accidentally receive energy from moon or vice versa. The Sun Moon Mirrors that we sell at Holistic Spaces have been created by my feng shui teacher, Katherine Metz

There is a wide variety of uses for a Sun Moon Mirror, but you won’t find them on the Internet. This list is something you receive when appropriate from a feng shui consultant or a teacher. The teachings are traditionally most effective when transmitted orally and at just the right time and place. When you purchase the mirror through Holistic Spaces, you’ll receive a document that Katherine created listing over 20 ways to use this incredible feng shui ritual object. 

Some examples are:

  • You can carry this tool around at all times for protection. I carry one with me in my purse.
  • For clarity, you can place a Sun Moon Mirror in your pillow and sleep on it.
  • For clarity and focus in your career, fasten it on the ceiling above your head at your desk.
  • If you are making a feng shui adjustment using one of the feng shui mirrors we have, you can use this Sun Moon Mirror as a more powerful option. For example if there is a missing feng shui bagua area in your home, you can use the mirror to bring back the area energetically.

I'm excited to hear that you're interested in the Sun Moon Mirror. It is such a powerful feng shui tool, and I recommend it when possible. I would love to hear how you choose to use yours!

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!

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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!

My Favorite Things: 5 Back-To-School Must Haves

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

As summer is wrapping up, many of us are gearing up to head back to school or double down for the fall season. Of course, it's much easier to take on a busy few months if we're organized and ready for what's ahead. So this month we've curated our top recommendations for getting back into the school season swing with a clear head and a neat space. Be sure to also check out our next podcast, with Diane Lowy from New York at Home. Diane creates "apartment solutions", and she's offered our listeners tips on getting organized!

Focus Mist

Our most recent podcast features my good friend and colleague, Andrea Giordano, who is a feng shui and essential oil expert. She also helped curate the Holistic Spaces Apothecary collection, and the Focus spray is one of my favorites!

A blend of fair trade essential oils and carnelian crystal, our Focus Mist was created to provide grounding, clarity and mental focus, and it's ideal for back-to-school!

Available at: Holistic Spaces

Mini Round Boxes

In our next podcast, I chat with organizer and space designer, Diane Lowy, and ask her advice on getting organized. 

Diane was also kind enough to recommend some of her favorite organizational tools for this month's My Favorite Things, and these mini round boxes made the cut!

"These are great for pretty much anything small that's otherwise tough to find in a drawer or your bag: SIM cards, paper clips, earrings, safety pins, a pair of earplugs, Tic Tacs, Tylenol. 12 clear boxes for $2.29 makes them an easy yes."

Available at: The Container Store

Recycled Notebooks

Notebooks are great for keeping notes and lists, setting goals and even organizing your thoughts through journaling

I love MUJI notebooks! I use these to keep all my notes, from meditation class to client meetings. It makes it easier for me to keep things in one location, and I like to write it down rather than put it in my phone. I love that they're recycled too!

Available at: MUJI

Post-It Tape

Another of Diane's favorites is Post-It tape.

"Post-It Note Tape is a great way to make labels anywhere that just peel off without leaving a residue but stay in place for as long as you need it. It comes in white as well as highlighter colors, and you can write on it just like paper. 

Labels can be super helpful when brainstorming for layouts after a move or renovation. They are also great reminders for that first week or two after moving stuff around and are very helpful when living with roommates!"

Available at: Amazon

Saraswati Yantra Mandala for Knowledge and Creativity

I love the Saraswati mandala because it is useful in so many ways! This yantra is associated with the Knowledge area of the bagua, since Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom and the arts. 

For inspiration in these areas, place the Saraswati yantra mandala in the Knowledge area of your space. 

Saraswati can also be used to cultivate abundance! Deepak Chopra shared a story about this in his book, Creating Affluence. You can read more about it in my blog post on attracting abundance

Available at: Holistic Spaces

My Favorite Things: 5 Ways to Bring the Earth Element into Your Spaces

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

For March, our theme is 5 Ways to Bring the Earth Element into Your Spaces. The Earth element is about self-care, nourishment and stability. Be sure to listen to our most recent podcast, Feng Shui and the Earth Element, for more about the Earth element!


I love this Distressed Rococo Wool Rug in Horseradish by West Elm. Although a square shape is slightly more earthy, this rectangular rug has a subtle large square pattern.

Rectangular or square yellow rugs add earth element to your spaces because of the shape and color. Rugs also create boundaries, which are often an issue to look at when working on Earth imbalances. 

Available at: West Elm


Kuan Yin is the bodhisattva of compassion. A bodhisattva devotes her entire being to supporting the enlightenment of others. For me, she exemplifies the Earth element.

I have a Kuan Yin statue in an Earth gua of my desk (in the Relationship area) to remind me to have compassion for myself and for others. This keeps my Earth element in balance!

Available at: PhenomeGnome on Etsy


Some of you may know that Satya Jewelry is not only one of my favorite jewelry designers, but Satya is one of my favorite clients. We designed her two most recent stores in NYC.

Satya is truly an amazing woman, and her jewelry is such a beautiful way to bring spirituality, intention and change into your everyday life. 

This mala is created with Fancy Jasper. "Tranquility is within your grasp. Fancy jasper encourages gentleness, ease of mind and repairs that which is broken to a state of wholeness. Wear this Mala, a traditional necklace of 108 beads, as a reminder that when you let go, you achieve peace." This is a wonderful way to bring the Earth element into your personal qi space.

In general, Fancy Jasper is a wonderful way to add focus, creativity, and grounding to bring some Earth element into your spaces.

Available at: Satya Jewelry


The Holistic Spaces store offers a room mist called Focus. It's a blend of essential oils and 18 pieces of carnelian. 

Our formula no.2 FOCUS is a blend of rosemary, cedarwood, frankincense and other essential oils with carnelian crystals for clarity, precision and direction. 

  • Rosemary supports mental precision
  • Cedarwood is grounding
  • Frankincense provides meditative focus
  • 18 pieces of carnelian in each bottle for grounding and stabilization

This room mist is perfect to ground and provide some more Earth in your spaces!

Available at: Holistic Spaces

Jizo BUDDHIST statue

"Jizo is one of the most beloved figures of Buddha, Buddhism and is the protector of children, expectant mothers, travelers, and most significantly, of deceased children. It is told that Jizo hides children beneath his robes to protect them from demons and other such evils." 

A spiritual statue, like with Kuan Yin above, can bring Earth element into our spaces. The weight provides stability, and I really love Jizo for family homes.

Available at: WestWind Home Garden