Peaceful homes bring peace of mind

From staff reports

Home surroundings have a larger impact on mental wellbeing than many might guess.

Whether students are living in an apartment, dorm room or sorority or fraternity, a stress-free home is essential to maintaining mental health, said Victoria Braun, the emotional health coordinator for Washington State University Health & Wellness Services.

“All living situations have pros and cons,” Braun said, “It’s more about figuring out how to adapt to where you are and deciding whether or not this is a healthy, relaxing and sustainable living situation for you that aligns with your values in life.”

Braun said there are many simple changes students can make in their home environment that lead to a more relaxing college career. One of the major changes is becoming more organized. This change brings a sense of control and a decrease in stress.

“Small interior decorating changes have also been linked to decreases in stress. Check your color palette: light greens, soft blues and soothing lighting have been found to be helpful. Plants are both aesthetically pleasing and calming,” Braun said.

Both Braun and Cassandra Nichols, director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said surrounding yourself with supportive people will also decrease home stress.

Braun said students also experience decreased sleep quality when they use their computer and eat in bed.

“There is a fair amount of research suggesting we make unconscious associations of activities with our environments. You want your bed to be a sacred space where the only association your brain may have with it is bed-related activities including sleep and relaxation,” Braun said.

Another helpful tip is creating a personal space. It could be something as simple as a lounge chair in the backyard or a couch in the basement, Braun said.

There are resources on campus for students dealing with stressful home environments. These include Counseling and Psychological Services, Health & Wellness and, an online resource for college mental health.


Reporting by Hannah Welzbacker