‘Lighting: Positive Effects’ by Dr Belinda Williams published in Great Health Guide (Jan 2017). A well lit environment can enable a more relaxed setting. Discover how improved lighting in your home can perform as a tool for overall wellbeing.
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GREAT HEALTH: Lighting: Positive Effects
written by Belinda Williams
In a world filled with stress maintaining a positive mindset and feelings of wellbeing can be challenging. The home has always been considered a place of refuge, a sanctuary from the outside world and an environment that we seek to make safe, comfortable and ambient. When thinking specifically about lighting in the home, let’s look at how we can use this to facilitate some of the key ingredients that enhance our wellbeing.
The link between design features of a home and wellbeing:
Historically we have aspired for material gain with the expectation that this will enhance our wellbeing. Research has not always supported this. So instead of material gain for the sake of it, let’s consider how we can materially adapt our environment in a way that facilitates and enables enhanced wellbeing.
Recent research conducted on behalf of Philips Lighting found that 80% of respondents said that they feel more positive when they live in a light, bright environment. Researcher and wellbeing expert Barbara Fredrickson has researched the fact that the more we can increase opportunities to experience positive emotion, the greater our overall wellbeing. If only wellbeing was as easy as a flick of the switch – let’s explore further how lighting, specifically, is a potential wellbeing tool.
Smart lighting now offers the opportunity to adapt light in a way that triggers our nervous system into either relaxed or wakeful states. We can leverage this to improve our quality of rest, which is integral for health, wellbeing and performance.
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Additionally, the ability to adjust lighting to mirror the tasks within our daily routine, can offer an enhanced sense of control over our environment and tasks that we engage in. We know that a greater sense of control is correlated with reduced anxiety and improved wellbeing. We also know that when we have a greater sense of engagement in a task we can improve wellbeing in both the short and long term.
Socialising at home:
Further, this research found that the home environment also has an influence on our desire to socialise. Over one third of respondents avoid entertaining in their home because they were embarrassed about how it looked. Lighting also came into play in social situations; one in five Australians feel that their home is too dark and lacks atmosphere. This is significant, as meaningful relationships are known to positively impact our health and wellbeing. It’s helpful to consider what aspects of your home are impeding you building and engaging with your social network.
PEOPLE FEEL MORE POSITIVE WHEN THEY LIVE IN A LIGHT, BRIGHT ENVIRONMENT.
LIGHT IS IMPORTANT TO FEEL CREATIVE, INSPIRED & ALERT.
Australians who work from home:
Organisations have long recognised the importance of the physical environment on employee wellbeing and productivity. With more Australians than ever working from home, it’s important to convert this knowledge and practice to the home environment. According to the research, 62% of Australians whose home doubles as an office believe the light is important to feel creative, inspired and alert, as well as to be able to think clearly and work in an environment where they feel proud. Light can be used to activate the sympathetic nervous system to induce a more wakeful state, improving clarity of focus and engagement in tasks. We know that task engagement in both the short and long-term sense improves wellbeing, lighting in the physical environment can be tapped as a strategic resource for positive health.
Three key ingredients for wellbeing include positive emotion, meaning and positive relationships. Consider how you can enable more of each of these in your every day.
We can strategically use tools in the home such as lighting to help improve our wellbeing and productivity.
The more control we have over our environment, the greater our wellbeing and the lower our experience of anxiety.
Recovery, in the fast paced world, is integral to sustainable wellbeing Technology can be both a friend and foe of wellbeing, so it is important to be aware of which tools are supportive or limiting for you.