For the first time in years, Wenping Wang looked well-rested. The bags under his eyes are lighter and his eyes are brighter as he sips coffee and chats with people in his house in Markham, Ont.
Wang, an electronics engineer in his 40s, loves days like these when he is not constantly drained of energy from tossing and turning in bed. Sleeping disorders have long kept him up at night … but not so much anymore.
“I believe the reason why people have difficulties with sleeping is because they are uncomfortable with their environments,” said Wang.
He credits feng shui, the “art of placement,” for much of the change. Wang’s friend recently introduced him to a feng shui master who later helped him reorganize his house and educated him on its underlying philosphoies. Since then, he started to have better sleep and felt more comfortable with his living environment.
Feng shui’s origins
Feng shui originated in ancient China; people have been developing and practicing the philosophy for more than 5,000 years. It’s a design practice that helps individuals balance energy and create a balanced, harmonized living environment.
“One’s living environment can have a determinate effect on one’s mindset and mental well-being,” said Qizhi Liao, a feng shui master based in China with more than 15 years of experience.
For Wang, the orientation of the furniture, such as which way the couch and beds face, is important. He intentionally placed items and plants to help bring good energy into his home.
A large green majestic palm tree placed in the front entrance — the first thing people see when they enter the house. “It brings good energy to the houseguests and also shows them that we are welcoming,” said Wang.
He also has a traditional Chinese ornament — a knot with long firecrackers tied to a plant rack. “It’s good luck,” Wang said. “It symbolizes prosperity and happiness.”
“I started to have better sleep after I studied about feng shui and reorganized my house,” said Wang. “To me, feng shui is about how your environment makes you feel, and if you feel good about your environment, you will very likely have good sleep.”
The use of feng shui is increasing in the Western world, according to Eddie Zhao, a Feng shui practitioner and Toronto real estate agent. “Nowadays, if we want to sell more houses to clients, we need to know some basic concepts of feng shui,” he said.
A few years ago, feng shui was not one of the factors to think about when it comes to house staging and showing. Now it has become one of the indispensable elements that people think about when buying a house, Zhao said.
For example, stairs directly facing the door will affect the whole energy of the house. “It is sending the good energy away,” said Zhao.
How the philosophy influences real estate
Likewise, people may not buy a house where the beds face the door of the bedroom. “It’s going to have negative impacts on people’s sleeping and health conditions,” he said.
One psychology professor suggested an individual’s environment can have a huge impact on their sleep and mental health in one of his studies.
“People with both frequent nightmares and bad dreams had a low level of psychological well-being,” according to research conducted by Zadra Antonio, a psychology professor at the University of Montreal.
WATCH | How to use feng shui in your home:
A large part of feng shui is to not only better an individual’s surroundings but also facilitate mental well-being.
“Feng shui determines people’s mindsets, which define people’s ‘mingli,’” said Liao, the feng shui master, using the Chinese word for “destiny” and “fortune.”
Although there is no specific study showing strong conclusive data evidence on the connections between psychology and feng shui, both the psychologist and the feng shui master acknowledge the impacts mental status and living environments have on people’s lives.
“Feng shui is data science, not some myth,” said Liao. The “rules” of Feng shui are the living patterns that had been practiced and tested by ancient Chinese people, he said. “It is the big data that is created and gathered by Chinese ancestors for guiding purposes.”
Wang continues to study Feng shui and learn different ways of placing items and furniture for attracting good energy.
“The philosophy of Feng shui not only helped with my sleeping disorders, but it also makes me feel good about myself,” he said.
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