Paying attention to the places on which we work and live can bring very positive results. Being aware of how these places affect our mood, our productivity, and our overall health will definitely help us reach higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. If we have recently started making changes to our diet, doing more exercise, and focusing more on self-care, then we should also think about the way built environments and architecture can affect us.
To begin with, we need to understand what the concept of wellness architecture refers to. Since this is quite a new term in the field, there is still no formal definition of it. Wellness can refer to many different aspects of our life, and some include fitness, mental health, levels of stress, emotional health, and social wellbeing. Architecture can have an impact on all of these aspects, so we can say that wellness architecture refers to the design of spaces that promote the improvement of our general well-being, including the concepts listed before.
For example, if we work in a building that provides employees with small cubicles, fluorescent lights, and constantly distracting noise, such an environment can have a negative impact on our well-being. Having an uncomfortable workstation, unbearably cold or hot weather, a lack of natural lights, and not even a window to look out every once in a while can also have a very negative impact on our mental health, our physical health, and the levels of stress we must endure.
In comparison, think of an office building that is constantly lit by natural light, with wide and tall windows that allow you to see the exterior clearly, with plenty of plants around, and controlled indoor temperature. This kind of spaces would help you feel calm, relaxed, and without having to put on with an uncomfortable position. Wellness architecture plays an important role when building or redesigning spaces with these and other characteristics.
The same principle applies to your home and making sure we work and live in comfortable spaces is the main focus of wellness architecture. The U.S. Green Building is in charge of overseeing the WELL Standard, a system that measures, monitors, and certifies the characteristics and features of built environments. The Global Wellness Institute is another force in charge of promoting wellness architecture around the world.
There are many elements that comprise wellness architecture and including them in our home or workspace will come with many benefits. Some of these elements include windows that are big and wide enough to allow for plenty of natural light to come in. The materials and colors we decide to use in our furniture and decoration can have a great impact on our health too. Therefore, we should be mindful of the built environments around us and how we are affected by them. This will allow us to become healthier and happier without much effort.