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Did you know that the energy of your living space can affect your mood? Naturopath Amina Eastham-Hillier shares five feng shui secrets.

Stress is an integral part of life, and we know that for our health's sake, we must manage it - something we don't always do successfully. One potential stressor you may not be aware of, but which can be managed relatively easily, is your home's energy. A home should be a haven from stress, but residual energy – especially bad energy – from people, discussions, and emotions can take up permanent residence, an invisible house-guest whose influence is all-pervading. Colours, furnishings and art that decorate your home also affect its energy. A qualified consultant (Association of Feng Shui Consultants (International) Inc, www.afsc.org.au) can review your entire home, and sometimes small adjustments in key areas are enough to settle the energy.

1. Clear clutter We can become so accustomed to clutter, we stop seeing it. However, it can leave us feeling claustrophobic distracted, disorganised – and guilty for not doing anything about it. Start with the area around the entrance to your home: the front door is the 'mouth of chi', through which positive energy enters and – ideally – drifts throughout the house. Clutter in this area will halt or slow this energy. If possible, have closed storage for bags, briefcases, and shoes that family members keep near the entrance; or, get them into the habit of taking these items to their rooms. Gradually work at decluttering the rest of your home and sell, donate, gift or – as a last resort – toss all items that are no longer used, wanted, or loved. Just putting clutter out of sight doesn’t work: it needs to be removed.

2. Don't forget the outside Keep garden beds weed-free, paths swept, and fences cobweb-free; plant pots of colourful bulbs or annuals, touch up paint if necessary, have a welcoming door mat. If the entrance to your home is via a garage, the same applies: keep the area clean and clutter-free.

3. Focus on the bedroom Bedrooms are strictly for R&R (rest and romance), which means work-related items have no place there. However, the reality of small-space city living means many of us have no option but to work in our bedrooms. Ideally, screen off the work area with a folding screen or a tall plant. Limit electronics as much as possible. The best position for the bed is against a solid wall for security and grounding. It should be easily approachable from both sides. Avoid storing anything under the bed so energy can freely circulate, ensuring a sound sleep. If under-bed storage is essential, store only soft items like clothes. Close the door of an ensuite bathroom at night to keep the rooms’ respective functions and energies separate.

4. Choose gentle curves For a calmer, more relaxed home, choose furniture with rounded corners rather than sharp right angles, because sharp points and corners leave us feeling tense and defensive. Indoor plants exert a positive effect on mood, productivity and blood pressure, but choose plants that are free of thorns and spikes and have soft leaves.

5. Add texture An excess of smooth surfaces in a room – glass, metal, stone, polished wood, silky furnishings – can create a cold and unfriendly ambience, which in turn makes relaxation difficult. This is something never seen in nature, with its endless variety of textures: rough tree bark, gritty beach sand, rocky landscapes, grassy fields. Add texture to the room with rugs, natural fabrics, distressed wood, and unpolished stone to warm it and create a more comfortable atmosphere.

Amina Eastham-Hillier BHSc is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. www.amina.com.au