Monthly Archives: October 2016

Creating an Optimal Dining Experience with Feng Shui

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This article is taken from my November 2016 Newsletter. To read the newsletter, please click here.

Thanksgiving time and on that day most Americans will be sitting around a table sharing a wonderful meal and giving thanks for all their blessings. When you’ve been lovingly cooking all day long, you want the meal to not only taste good, but be a wonderful experience for everyone there. While feng shui can’t do much to change whether or not you’re a great cook, it can help create an ambience that will make the meal even better. Feng Shui goes beyond how things look (and taste), and addresses how things feel. So with that knowledge in mind, here are some quick and easy ways to make your Thanksgiving meal (or any meal for that matter) as excellent as possible.

Table Shape
Most of the time a formal meal takes place around a rectangular-shaped table. While this may be a more traditional setting, it isn’t the best for actually relaxing and sharing a meal. Around a rectangle table, many of the guests will not be able to see or converse with each other. You’ll end up with a party at one end and a party at the other end. People sitting on the same side of the table at opposite ends must lean around others in order to see or talk to guests at the other end of the table, making conversation awkward. Furthermore, the people sitting at the ends of the table (usually the patriarch) are the only ones who can see and converse with everyone, thus giving them command of the meal (in feng shui, we call this seat the “Command Position”), creating an inequality in the authority of people during the meal.
From a feng shui perspective, a round table is highly preferable to a rectangle-shaped table for a pleasant dining experience. Around a round table, all guests can see and converse with each other, there is no “head” of the table, and everyone there is energetically equal. Studies show that when guests are seated around a round table for a meal, they say that the food tasted better, they lingered around the table longer, and they felt that their all-around dining experience was more positive. A rectangle table tends to hurry the meal. People will sit down, eat, and get up shortly after the meal to go into the other room.  Around a round table however, guests will linger over the meal, talk, laugh, eat dinner or have coffee and desert, and still be sitting there talking or even play an after-dinner game at the table.

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Creating an Optimal Study Environment with Feng Shui

This article appears in my October 2016 newsletter. No portion may be copied or duplicated without permission. To read the newsletter, please click here.

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Whether you are going to school yourself or have a child beginning a new school year, finding the right environment to study in can have an effect on studying success.  Below I have given you ten great tips on how you can use Feng Shui to create a more optimal study area.
1. Add nature or images of nature to the setting.  Studies at Washington State University found that when plants were added to a work and study area, productivity went up 28%.  The theory is that people are soothed by images of nature and the plants create a less stressful environment.
2. Make sure the door to the room can be seen while studying.  When we need to focus on a task it is important that we feel as safe as possible.  Being able to see the door assures us that we will not be startled by someone while we are concentrating on our studies.
3. Good lighting is a must.  Full-spectrum task lighting is a preferred alternative to regular incandescent lighting.  Full-spectrum lighting lessens eye strain.  The photograph to the left illustrates the difference between regular partial-spectrum lighting on the left and the same lamp using a full spectrum bulb on the right.
 4. Find a place that is free from as many distractions as possible.  Many children are allowed to do homework while watching TV.  It is obvious why this is not the best choice for distraction-free studying.
 5. Consider aromatherapy.  Peppermint essential oil is known for improving concentration and enables us to focus better on tasks.  You can diffuse the oil into the air using a non-heating ultrasonic diffuser, inhale it right out of the bottle,  or try dabbing a few drops on a ribbon and tying it to a blowing fan to help improve mental clarity.  Studies have also shown that when students inhale pure essential oils while studying, they are able to recall the information again while taking a test if they smell that same scent during the test. In other words, if you study while inhaling peppermint essential oil and then inhale it again while taking a test on that same material, you may recall the information more easily. This is because the brain makes associations and ties memories to scent.  Be sure to always only purchase therapeutic-grade essential oils!  Synthetic oils often include toxic chemicals.  Oils such as Young Living brand (available on the shopping page of my web site and on the right hand side of this newsletter) are pure essential oils that are safe and healthy to use.
 6. Place items made of rock or stone in the Northeast section of the home.  The northeast is the location related to study.  The element associated with the Northeast is earth and the supporting element is fire.  Salt lamps, ceramic items, things made of stone, tile, pottery, etc. are all good in the Northeast.  Avoid large indoor plants in the Northeast area of the home as growing wood is not optimal in that location.
7. Eliminate clutter from the study area.  Clutter is distracting and can make us feel nervous and overwhelmed.
8. If you sit at a desk, be sure you have a comfortable, ergonomically correct desk and chair.  If you are sitting for long periods of time in an uncomfortable position it will impair your ability to concentrate.
9. Make sure the surrounding area is as quiet as possible.  If noise is an issue and you can’t do anything about it (such as in a dorm situation), consider the use of an inexpensive white noise machine or fan.  Both can be purchased at many stores and online.  The whooshing noise from the fan or white noise machine helps drown out other sounds without being distracting. There are even apps that create white noise!
10. If you study with your laptop literally on your lap, purchase a laptop pad from the office supply store.  It will help protect you from any electromagnetic fields the lap top may be giving off, and it will help the laptop (and you) stay cooler.
These are just some quick tips to help you create a great study area.  Of course there is no sure cure way to actually get someone to automatically absorb all the information they are trying to learn, but having a space that is nurturing and comfortable can certainly help.
Copyright 2016 Cathleen McCandless, All Rights Reserved
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Copyright protected c. 2016 Cathleen McCandless http://www.fengshuimauihawaii.com

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