I'm no psychology expert, but I'm always looking for new ways to destress and improve my mental health. I've tried meditation, healthy eating, exercise, and counselling. They all worked to an extent, but I wanted to try something new. My environment has always had a huge influence on my emotions. So I wondered if altering my bedroom could impact my mental health.

After some research and a day of moving around furniture, I came up with 10  simple ways you can change up your living space that can make you happier and less anxious. 

1. Declutter

birthday cake, buttercream, cake
Carleigh Reynolds

When my room is messy, I feel disorganized and over-stimulated. Tidying up my bedroom feels like reorganizing my brain. When I  put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket, throw out those clothing tags and granola bar wrappers, and put my books in a neat pile, I felt like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I took this a step further and donated two trash bags worth of old clothes. Purging made my wardrobe much more minimalistic and I got to say 'Goodbye' to all of the clothing that I felt guilty about not wearing. It felt awesome to give back to the community by sending my stuff to someone that potentially wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise.

2. Switch things up

chocolate, cake, pizza, beer, tea, coffee
Carleigh Reynolds

I heard that rearranging your furniture can stimulate your brain in new ways. So I turned my bed 180 degrees and was shocked at the results. Moving my bed gave me a different perception of the space and a new view to fall asleep to. Doing this increased my spatial awareness and made the room feel new to me. 

3. Get plants

sushi, vegetable
Carleigh Reynolds

Houseplants have been linked to many psychological benefits including reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure. Through photosynthesis, plants also purify your air. 

In addition to the health benefits, plants remind me to practice self care and give me an appreciation for the little things. Watering and taking care of my plants acts as a reminder to take care of myself. Watching my plants grow and thrive makes me feel accomplished and amazed at the miracle of nature. 

4. Use colour

espresso, wine, beer, coffee
Carleigh Reynolds

According to modern colour psychology,  colour choices, from your furniture to your walls, affect your mood. When attempting to reduce stress, green has the most soothing and refreshing affect on your mind because it reminds the subconscious of nature. 

I didn't have the necessary time or commitment to paint my bedroom green. Instead, I moved my green knick knacks and furniture items to become more visible and put away items of darker, more depressing, colours.

5. Make your layout useful

tea, sushi
Carleigh Reynolds

Your bedroom shouldn't be a maze.  It should be easy to navigate and see everything. There should be a designated work space and a designated sleep space and the two should be completely different areas. Using your phone or writing assignments in bed can interrupt your sleep cycle

I am an avid before-bed-social-media-checker and sometimes I use my bed as a desk, so this was the hardest change. However, moving my electronics away from my bed helped me fall asleep faster. Instead of associating my bed with work or play, my brain began to see it exclusively as a place of relaxation and sleep. 

6. Remind yourself of who you are

bacon, wine, coffee, pizza, beer
Carleigh Reynolds

Showcasing medals, certificates, or photos of favourite memories can remind you of your accomplishments and passions. Putting up photos of family or friends is also very grounding

Creating a wall photo collage gave my room a lot more personality and it allowed me to practice gratitude because it became a visual reminder of all the people and things that I am thankful for. 

7. Rounded edges. Everywhere. 

Carleigh Reynolds

Otherwise referred to as the use of "soft geometry" , it is suggested that using decor pieces with rounded edges will help you relax . If your room contains sharp edges and points, your subconscious may fixate on not bumping into things and fear getting hurt. Implementing curves into your furniture will make you feel safe and keep you calm. 

In other words. Get tons of fluffy pillows

8. Keep a journal 

coffee, beer, wine, tea
Carleigh Reynolds

Keeping a journal beside my bed allowed me to practice my doodling and track my thoughts and dreams.

It was awesome to have a physical record that documented the gradual changes in my state of mind. The best part about journalling was being able to vent to something that could not judge or talk back.

9. Aromatherapy 

tea, coffee
Carleigh Reynolds

Smell has a huge impact on your mood. Improving your room's scent can be as simple as taking out the trash or finally dealing with that laundry mountain in the corner. 

I like to use candles because, with the huge range of available scents, I can find one that I really enjoy and is comforting to me. If you're in a dorm room that doesn't permit the use of candles, I highly recommend getting a scent bag filled with dried flowers or good-smelling herbs to keep by your bed. 

10. Let the light in

watermelon, rose, pasture
Carleigh Reynolds

Having a window is extremely beneficial. It lets in light and can make a room feel less gloomy. Also opening a window can make a room seem larger and less cramped. 

Having my curtains open all the time gave me my weekly dose of Vitamin D and helped regulate my sleep cycle, making it easier for me to wake up in the morning.

coffee, tea, cake
Carleigh Reynolds

Use these hacks to makeover your current bedroom or to give you some direction when setting up your dorm room on move-in day. Your roommates will be begging you for interior design tips and you will be able to go back to school feeling calm and happy. 

If all else fails, remember your room is a reflection of you, so do whatever it takes to make your room feel as weird and wonderful as you are.