After a stretch of days that nudged up to and hit the 100-degree mark, (complete with good old Maryland humidity), we’ve hit a patch of lower temperatures–80s by day, 60s by night.
I use window units to the cool the house, so I’m only cooling where I am, when I’m there, and only when the discomfort has become unbearable. As much as possible, I make do with just a fan. Now that we have a break in the weather, I notice the cool–oh, boy, do I–and the difference in the light because of the lower humidity and the fact that I’m keeping doors open all day.
I also notice the quiet. No roaring box fans, no AC clicking on and off, and back on. The house is what I consider “normal” again, so quiet I can hear the florescent bulbs in the kitchen and every bird tweeting in the yard. Every car that goes by is a ripple across the pond of my quiet.
Quiet is good for us, and may constitute a large part of the benefit of mindfulness mediation. Noise, by contrast, is bad for us, and most definitely makes the list of reasons why open office plans are a false economy, large classrooms can be tougher learning environments, and sleep patterns become erratic. This is true even if it’s quiet when you go nighty-nighty. If your day was noisy, your mind can stay noisy long afterward.
My dear mother was not as attached to quiet as I am. She would play morning radio for company, or a classical music station in the evening. She was home alone by the hour, and sound helped her feel less isolated. She needed light though–natural sunlight, if at all possible. She thrived in homes that had many large picture windows, and arranged her surroundings to take advantage of the sunlight.
Turns out, natural light is full of benefits. Given a choice, most people will seek natural lighting over the artificial kind, and if they can find some natural light, they will be happier, more productive, and calmer. Homes full of natural light are less likely to be plagued with mold and mildew, students who have naturally lit classrooms will enjoy better academic performance. Young children who spend time in natural light are less likely to end up nearsighted.
My mom needed a tidy house, I need a house where I can see my stuff, or I’ll forget what I have (this is typical of visual thinkers). I need flowers too, which also bring a surprising load of benefits with them, from enhanced problem-solving and creativity, to improved mood.
What is your ideal environment? What are your environmental non-negotiables? Is there a way to have more of what makes you thrive, and less of what blights your joy? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed ARC of My One and Only Duke.