By Alyssa Gautieri
Whether with a deep breathing exercise or mantra meditation, practicing mindfulness or meditation helps to improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being. “When you meditate, you are tuned into the present moment — acknowledging how you feel, witnessing your breath, and being mindful of yourself,” says Josephine Atluri, author, mindfulness and meditation coach, and host of the Responding to Life podcast.
Sensory wellness rooms, meditation nooks, and at-home spas make it easier to escape the stress of everyday life. “If you’re new to meditation or mindfulness, it can be really challenging to step away from all of that outside noise and chaos, so it is beneficial to have a space that removes all of those things for you,” says Atluri.
“Dedicating a room to promoting well-being encourages moments of mindfulness by committing time, energy, and space,” says Sarah Barnard (WELL + LEED AP), a leading designer of environments that support mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
With more people working from home, “we are interacting with our homes more than ever before, and there is a general shift toward valuing home designs that offer comfort and emotional support,” Barnard says.
“I have definitely noticed a trend toward wellness-inspired spaces — especially with the pandemic,” agrees architect William Hefner, who crafts environments that feel private, nurturing, and comfortable. “We often think of wellness as an indulgence or treat, like attending a yoga class or a weekend getaway at a spa,” Barnard adds.
“A wellness room doesn’t replace those things necessarily, but it does supplement them and makes it easier to bring the benefits of those practices into everyday life.”
Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help move our state of negativity to one of positivity. “We can easily get caught up in our inner critic and all of the negativity that surrounds us,” says Atluri. “Mindfulness helps us become aware of ourselves. Various strategies such as gratitude and affirmations can pull us out of a cycle and shift us into an alternative way of thinking.”
If you’re able to recognize that stress is physically affecting you, mindfulness can help halt the pattern. “With mindfulness, you are able to use your breath to move yourself into a calmer state of being,” says Atluri, who says you’ll notice physical differences within your body during and after meditation.
If you’re looking to be more mindful at home, craft a relaxing space by taking note of what experiences and sensations you find soothing. “When designing wellness-focused homes, it’s important to respect individual sensory needs — from installing personalized lighting and temperature controls to facilitating restorative activities,” says Barnard.
Barnard adds, “For some people, wellness may come from stimulation and activity. These clients may find a space with saturation, high contrast textures, and opportunities for activities — whether related to motion or creativity. Other clients may prefer environments consisting of a neutral palette, free from distractions, with soft or smooth materials.”
Elements of nature — like plant life, natural textures, and peaceful views — are nearly universal in creating calm. “Incorporating natural elements into the palette is essential when crafting relaxing spaces,” says Brittany Farinas, CEO and creative director of House of One. Farinas uses moss, wood textures, and crystals to emphasize and evoke feelings of tranquility.
“Natural elements such as wood, stone, and greenery help create the serene aesthetic in a wellness space,” Farinas adds. “My favorite colors to incorporate are different shades of green for calmness and white for an elegant and sophisticated look.”
When bringing mindfulness practices into your home, Atluri says to start small. “Practicing mindfulness and meditation for even a couple minutes a day will reap great benefits because you’re giving yourself a moment to pause, to breathe, and to reconnect with yourself,” she says.
“Practicing wellness at home is uniquely beneficial because it offers you the chance to create a special place in your home to escape daily stresses, calm your mind, and just be,” says Jessica Hann, vice president of brand marketing for Avocado Green Mattress. “Taking a few minutes for ourselves to relax and tune out the noise can set the tone for your whole day.”
According to Atluri, tying a new ritual to an existing activity will help you develop the habit faster — such as practicing 10 minutes of mindfulness after brushing your teeth in the morning or washing your face in the evening. When trying something new, Atluri reminds us to, “always give yourself grace, and be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Be proud of the days that you’re able to accomplish your goal and on the days that it isn’t what you hoped for, know that there is another day where you get to try.”