Despite numerous advancements in the field of healthcare, a lot of people in India are still indifferent towards mental health. But, it's not only doctors (psychiatrists and psychologists) and medical professionals (counselors) who play a key role in this space.
Architects, urban planners, interior designers, engineers and real estate developers also tend to have an impact on mental health through their contributions.
The internal factors affecting the mind
According to housing expert, Dr Harald Deinsberger-Deinsweger, ill-conceived and inferior architecture as well as cramped spaces can cause stress, exhaustion and promote physical discomfort. Though this may not always be visible imminently, they have consequences in the long term.
Factors like colors, light, plants, temperature, air quality, construction methods and materials influence the environment and well-being of people. Our senses influence our thinking, feelings and actions and therefore our entire body.
Positive stimulation of our sources can have a calming effect. As a result, spaces can influence our thinking, action patterns and strengthen performance and concentration in activities.
From the perspective of development of our personality and environment, well ventilated units and bright colors create positive stimulation, which can calm the mind, enhance satisfaction levels and boost self-esteem. On the other hand, feeling uncomfortable in spaces, can lead to restlessness or discomfort, lethargy or even discomfort.
The external environment
Housing and social policy researcher, Danny Friedman, also correlated poor housing conditions and neighborhoods to an individual’s prosperity.
Friedman says, “Improving the quality of housing and neighborhoods will have a positive effect in reducing criminality, ill health and advancing educational attainment.”
As per a research study conducted by the scientist Tanja Vollmer, the sick, elderly and younger population spend more time in their living spaces and are strongly influenced by how they are designed and set up. So, aspects like ventilation and sunlight are absolute necessities in residential units. Open spaces like parks and gardens are like an icing on the cake.
Since the majority of the population is spending time at home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is all the more significant to make spaces comfortable.
Innovations on the building structures, improving the building interiors and subtly changing parameters like color, light, smell, sound and temperature, can create the best experience for the individual, within the specific environment.
De-cluttering immediate surroundings is often considered one of the most effective solutions towards improving mental health and reducing unwanted anxiety. While de-cluttering implies cleaning one's cupboard, worktable or any other personal space, transforming them is also achievable.
Leading interior designers Pooja and Arbaysis Ashley hail innovation and functionality as the need of the hour.
“The dining space, balcony and living room can all be transformed into a workspace to provide vast volume, outdoor views and an interactive ethos. In order to improve the functionality of these spaces, enrich the micro-environment with colour coding of stationery, souvenirs and indoor plants. Reorganising accessories and art renews the perception of spaces”, say the Ashleys.
Edited by Roshni Shroff
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