I have recently been noticing just how important our physical environment is to both our wellbeing and the quality of our thinking. The physical environment we inhabit is a powerful enabler of not only clarity of thought, but also creativity.

Creating the physical environment

By physical environment I am referring to the spaces we live and work in, including the objects, people and dynamics they contain. There are many in the world who live in treacherous circumstances of conflict and extreme poverty. For those of us fortunate enough to be free from physical harm, the dangers arise from the impact our physical environments might have on our emotional and psychological wellbeing. And sometimes these impacts might be subtle and not so obvious, until we take a closer look.
Each one of us will have our own unique preferences as to what makes up an optimal environment to operate in. The key is that we become aware of what we need and seek to create it.
Too often, we can accept the noisy or disruptive behaviour of a housemate, colleague, neighbour or even a family member. Difficult discussions might need to be had, but if the intent is to create a harmonious living and working space that works for yourself and others, perhaps these conversations are worth the pain.

One size does not fit all

The use of open plan offices has been quite popular for sometime now. While the open plan approach may be useful for fostering more interaction and ad hoc discussion of ideas, it is far from the only way. In fact, depending on the preferences and natural styles of people, it can even be counterproductive to creative thinking. For example, perhaps, you are a person that functions better in a quiet environment and are not particularly good at blocking out the ever present chit chat that is part and parcel of an open plan office. There is much to be said then for moving away from a one size fits all approach to office design and accounting for the different individual styles of people.

Final thoughts

Under the right conditions, we are all capable of fully unlocking our inherent potential. The quality of our physical environment is a powerful enabler of that. It is what facilitates a sort of mental equilibrium from which we can begin to build greater awareness into ourselves and increase our focus.