289 Environmental Interventions for Depression
Counselor Toolbox

 
 
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100+ Practical Tools to Defeat Depression Environmental Interventions
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes, PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director, AllCEUs Counseling Education
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

Objectives
~ Discuss how all of your senses can either help you feel happier or more stressed.
~ Identify happiness triggers and ways to incorporate them into your home, car and office

Connectedness
~ Your environment plays a big role in how you feel
~ A soothing environment will trigger calming physiological responses
~ A stressful environment can trigger anxiety or depression
~ If you are stressed or depressed your environment tends to end up reflecting that.
~ When you are happy and energized, your environment often reflects that as well.
~ How is your home different when you are depressed vs. when you are happy?
~ Describe a place that you walked into that had “bad energy”
~ Describe a place you walked into that had “good energy”
Sights
~ Extroverts vs. Introverts
~ Sights (pictures, colors, people, things…)
~ How can you improve what you see
~ At home
~ At work
~ In the car
~ Lighting
~ Fluorescents are stressful and can trigger migraines and seizures
~ Too dim or too bright at the wrong times can mess up circadian rhythms.
~ Total room light is not necessary. Focused bright light can be very effective (especially for people with ADD)

Smells: Aromatherapy
~ Smells are one of our strongest memory triggers
~ Aromatherapy uses essential oils to trigger physiological responses, but everyday items can also trigger responses
~ Activity: Identify 5 scents that bring back happy memories or feelings of calm
~ Activity: Wax tarts (What does this remind you of?)
~ Baby powder, pine trees, sugar cookies…
~ Activity: Identify 5 scents that help you feel energized and clear headed
~ Activity: Identify 10 ways to distribute fragrances (on a cloth in the sock drawer, on your pillow, in a spray bottle, lightbulb rings, wiped on ceiling fan blades etc…)

Order and Organization
~ Declutter
~ 3 box method: Keep it, Give it Away, Trash
~ Hanger Turn
~ Mount Everest
~ Flat surface-itis
Make a House a Home
~ Activity: Interior Design
~ Feng Shui for Dummies Cheat Sheet
~ Colors
~ Red/pink
~ Blue
~ Black
~ White
~ Yellow
~ Green
~ Brown

Make a House a Home
~ Activity: What can you do to your environment to make it more pleasant?
~ Visually (colors, pictures, organization, plants, furniture placement/mirrors)
~ Smelling
~ Sounding (wind chimes, nature sounds, music, waterfall)
~ Temperature?
~ Smell?
~ Colors?
~ Décor/style? Modern? Farmhouse? English Cottage? Other?
~ Furniture? Clean lines or soft and fluffy?
~ Lighting?

Summary
~ Your environment can trigger a variety of different feelings based on your prior experiences and personal preferences
~ Environments that are too noisy, bustling and chaotic can be exhausting for introverts, but environments that are too quite and subdued can make extroverts feel depleted.
~ Environments that trigger memories of happy times can help people feel less alone, more energetic and empowered