Addiction involves an array of factors. Genetics, childhood experiences, and physical environment are among a few. While we have no control over the genes that we inherit or the experiences we have as children, we can adjust our physical environment to promote healing.
Cozier, Comfier, and More Welcoming
If you are recovering from addiction, think about the environments that played a role in your substance use. Where did you most often use the substance/s? A bar or club? A friend’s house? A particular room in your own house?
As you learned in treatment, places, and people are two common triggers for relapse. In recovery, it’s important to decide how to protect yourself from those triggers. It might be fairly easy to stay away from places outside the home, but if the home was a center for your substance use, you’ll want to do what you can to create a different kind of energy there, one that doesn’t remind you of your past.
Our house reflects our mind and personality. If your living area is messy, unkempt, dirty, or cluttered, this could reflect a mind that is cluttered or uneasy. By cleaning up your space and making it comfortable, you can lift your mood and motivate yourself to stay on track with your sobriety.
Ask yourself: do you like the look of your space? Are the walls a color that you like? Is the furniture arranged in a way that you appreciate? Does it display art or fixtures that you find beautiful or interesting?
Ask yourself whether there are pieces of furniture or decor that you find ugly or cumbersome. Are the physical objects in the house or room blocking movement in some way? Does the space feel blank, cold, or dark? Is the lighting too stark or overly fluorescent?
Creating a healing space is both an aesthetic and emotional process. It may seem trivial to think that such a small detail could affect your mental health and recovery, but fine-tuning your environment to fit your tastes and needs helps you learn about yourself and respect yourself.
Interestingly, the people and culture of Denmark have much to offer on the topic of manipulating our environments to make them cozier, comfier, and more welcoming. The Danish word Hygge (pronounced like Who-Ga) describes a mood of being consciously cozy. The Danes embrace the concept of Hygge to create soft, warm, cozy places where they feel happier and at ease.
Hygge as a way of living involves cozy nooks for reading, lots of blankets, a stash of favorite snacks or desserts, crackling fires (or at least the sounds of a crackling fire via an app or youtube recording), warmth, and fellowship.
Recovery can be an uncomfortable time; the emotional investment and commitment to a new lifestyle can sometimes feel exhausting. The principle of Hygge, of creating comfort, might help those in recovery increase their well-being.
Human beings have evolved to feel safe in physical spaces that emanate a sense of refuge. People are more likely to feel at ease, feel less pressure or stress, and remain calm in spaces that have the following:
- Wooden surfaces, a reminder of trees and the outdoors
- Higher ceilings, providing a sense of openness and space
- Windows with views of nature or art that depicts nature
- A lot of natural light and sunshine
We Are Here to Help
Psychologists remind us that our space can be fashioned to support our achievement of specific goals. Even if you don’t have the finances for a major renovation or completely new furnishings, we encourage you to be creative in making your space welcoming and uplifting. At Great Oaks, we make every effort to offer a facility that supports our clients’ recovery goals. We understand that the presence of wood, sunlight, and cozy furniture uplifts our residents. Take a virtual tour to see our cozy spaces for yourself.