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20 Ways to Bring Anxiety-Reducing Elements Into Your Home Design

Cultivate comfort and calm in your space with researchers’ and designers’ tried-and-true (and stylish) transformation tips.

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Photo: Vivian Johnson. From: Clara Jung.

How to Create Supportive Surroundings

From lifestyle changes and self-care to community and professional support, the tool kit for tackling anxiety is getting bigger and more effective all the time. The very spaces in which you live your life can help you to meet its challenges — and we’ve consulted experts of all kinds to show you just how to put them to work. When it comes to starting the day with a calm and collected mind, there’s no place — and no ally — quite like home.

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Photo: Adam Murphy

Opt for Matte Rather Than High-Gloss Finishes

With a background in psychotherapy, Tulsa designer Jill Croka focuses on residential designs that employ the insights she gained in that training. In this serene kitchen, for example, she foregrounded the naturally soothing patterns in the spectacular stone backsplash and island by choosing finishes that don’t glare and reflect light. “Organic lines, as you see in wood and stone, when they have a matte finish, lower one’s blood pressure,” she told HGTV. “They are cues our body reads from the natural world. I prefer all stone to be honed or leathered to aid in the contribution of resting our senses.”

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Photo: Margaret Wright. From: JLV Creative.

Deploy Gallery Walls in Relaxation Spaces

According to a 2021 research review, art can be both ornamental and therapeutic. Subjects in 13 studies reported reduced stress after viewing art, and four studies found links between viewing art and lowering blood pressure. The researchers noted that more study is needed to determine how various media and subjects affect us — so we’d argue that the best way to cover your bases is to splash out with a cheerfully eclectic array like this one.

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Photo: Organic Aromas

Tap Into Aromatherapy

To introduce an atmosphere that’s relaxing in its own right, use a sleek essential-oil diffuser to carry the scent of lavender throughout your rooms. Used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes (and even to tame lions and tigers) since the first century AD, lavender has also starred in decades of contemporary scientific studies as an effective means of reducing stress. We like this teardrop-shaped hardwood-and-glass nebulizing diffuser, which can infuse up to 800 square feet with the scent of your choice.

BUY IT: Organic Aromas, $98

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