Personal Space: How Can It Benefit Your Mental Health?


Humans are wired to be social beings and need to be around others. Otherwise, our energy and health can suffer. But even the biggest extrovert needs some time and space alone, which can sometimes be hard to come by. Having space we can call our own where we can unwind is key to maintaining quality mental health.

But the good news is, that you can soon have a personal space to call your own with a few suggestions and tips.

Two types of personal space

According to experts, there are two types of personal space. First, each of us has a zone of space around us-a, a type of buffer against a safety that we try to maintain concerning others. The amount of space between other people in our lives and us often depends on our relationship with them. And the smaller the space, the closer the relationship.

This sort of protective space is present in people and many other animals. It serves as a ‘defense mechanism’ for avoiding potential threats and predators. And for social animals like people, it’s a fundamental part of organizing our interactions with one another.

The second type of personal space is our part of the world we think of as our own. It’s a private space that can be a part of your home, office, bedroom, or somewhere you can spend time alone. As we’ve been spending more time indoors due to the pandemic, that space came across a few challenges.

The importance of personal space

Our senses of personal space are continuously being challenged. From open-plan offices at work to apartments with thin walls to people playing loud music on the train, our personal space is threatened in multiple ways daily, which ultimately increases our stress levels.

A recent study found that people who work in open-plan office spaces are more prone to take short bouts of sick leave than others who don’t. Women, in this case, were particularly affected.

Researchers suggest it may be due to our immune systems and how they’re negatively affected by stressors, such as lack of privacy and excess noise, which aren’t uncommon to find in open-plan layouts.

Creating your personal space

Negotiate your space. If you don’t have any privacy in your home, consider discussing with the people you live with to negotiate private areas within the home. That way, it’s determined whose space is whose and which ones are shared, and you’ll always have somewhere to escape to and feel comfortable. You can even make it a rule that they shouldn’t be disturbed or bothered if someone’s in their own space.

Create a sanctuary. It’s much easier to prioritize your alone time if you have a designated space to do it. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, especially if you live in the city, for example, and may not have the luxury of having this option. It can be a garden, kitchen, garage, or even a reading nook in a living room. Add a few things you enjoy to make it a soothing environment that’s all yours.

Make use of all senses. Consider implementing all of your senses when creating a personal space. These include your sense of:

  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Touch

For example, if you respond well to a particular scent, you can use an essential oil diffuser to stimulate different emotions and create the tone you want for your space. Or, if you’re looking to unwind after a long day, our Full Spectrum CBD oil can help keep your mind, body, and soul in check by promoting mental balance and physical relaxation.

Bring the outdoors in. By drawing the outdoors in, you can recreate a sense of escape.  If you don’t have a nice greenery view yet, simply looking at a lovely scenic photo will do the trick. Research reveals that simply looking at a picture of nature for 40 seconds can trigger the brain into a more relaxed state.

Another study found that people who regularly expose themselves to nature, even if it’s watching a screensaver or looking at an image, can make you feel more rejuvenated and restored.

Having a plant in your line of vision can also serve the same purpose. Not only do plants purify the air, but they also have a soothing effect on your mind and body. As human beings, we have a natural urge to be around nature. Studies have shown that indoor plants can also help with productivity, creativity, and idea generation.

Find your state of flow. You can additionally change the way you experience space mentally by finding something that creates ‘flow,’ which is defined as ‘ the state you enter when you’re doing something that absorbs you.’

When you’re in this state of flow, nothing can penetrate the space you’re in —and time feels like it’s disappearing. You find yourself looking up and noticing that hours are flowing by.

 Everyone finds their state of flow differently, whether it’s getting into an excellent book or working on an art project. Find what works for you, and use it to the best of your ability.

Mindfulness nook

If you don’t have a set meditation practice already, now’s the best time to start. Starting your day with a short mindfulness meditation exercise will help you create more physical and mental space. Still, it’ll also give you a better understanding of what emotional state you’re in.

Create your own meditation nook for a morning or evening practice – a space that’s dedicated to stillness. Find any corner, a quiet spot in your garden, on your balcony, etc. Light a candle or incense and fill your corner with things that bring you a sense of joy and calm.

Tell your family, friends, or partner you’re off-limits. Whether it’s an hour or a few minutes, set a boundary that’s clear that this is your interrupted time to yourself. You can explain how important this is to you and how this time alone can be beneficial to everyone. Remember, making yourself a priority will help you take care of others and improve your health overall.

But you don’t always have to build something or create an entirely new space to get some alone time. Whatever you choose to do, remember that the critical part is setting time, making space for yourself, and focusing on self-care, relaxation, and peace.

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