Here's How Lighting Affects Your Mood, & What You Can Do About It, According To Experts
Have you ever noticed that, after working in a dimly lit room all day, you kind of tend to feel really, inexplicably bummed out? Or, to put it another way, think about how lovely it can be to spend an evening next to the light of a crackling fire, or beside an open window that lets the sunlight stream in. The way lighting affects your mood is real, y'all, but the good news is, experts say you can use this knowledge to your advantage, particularly when you're more or less stuck for hours on end in those day-to-day places that have, you know, less than stellar lights available. (I see you, overhead office lighting.)
According to life coach Dr. Stacia Pierce, the right lighting can improve your attitude and alertness when working, and even though it might sound like a mundane detail in your daily routine to concern yourself with, it's worth noticing and doing something about it if you can.
"It’s important to use LED lighting versus fluorescent light inside, which is known to cause health complications," Dr. Pierce tells Elite Daily. And she's right on that: For one, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that long-term exposure to fluorescent lighting may be linked to an increased risk of certain eye diseases.
The good news? "You’ll be able to work, read, relax and avoid chronic fatigue syndrome when using LED bulbs," says Dr. Pierce.
Mary Joye, a licensed mental health counselor and certified clinical trauma professional based in Florida, tells Elite Daily something similar about paying attention to the types of bulbs you use indoors: In her line of work, she is particularly aware of lighting and how it affects people's moods, especially if people are sensitive to their environments. In fact, it's something she pays attention to while putting together her office for patients.
"Fluorescent lights oscillate (flicker) and highly sensitive people get agitated by them," Joye explains. "So you want the lighting [to be] conducive to feeling safe."
Joye recommends having at least a little daylight come through the windows around you if possible, as well as paying close attention to other things you can control in your environment, like having task lamps on your desk. Additionally, consider the colors, hues, contrasts, and wall-hangings around you, Joye explains, as these can all play a role in how your environment affects your mood, especially in a place where you work. Ask yourself: Can you paint the space? Can you bring in pictures full of color, or get your own lamps for your desk?
Anne Michaelsen, an interior designer based in California, has some great suggestions for ways to make small changes to your office and bedroom in particular, that'll allow you to have more control over the lighting and how you feel in the rooms you spend a lot of time in.
"For offices, it's important to focus on task lighting, meaning lighting structured for the task of working," Michaelsen tells Elite Daily. "I use clear bright LED lightbulbs above the work station to illuminate the desk and other key areas in the work environment. Additionally, task desk lamps with USB charging ports are a great way to get some extra light with the added bonus of convenient charging, she says.
As for the bedroom? Well, the lighting should be calm and peaceful overall, Michaelsen explains. That's the ticket to maintaining a bedtime-friendly mood.
"If you're in an apartment without ceiling lights or with little control of the placement or brightness of ceiling lights, you can use a variety of light fixtures (floor lamps, table lamps, wall sconces) to structure the bedroom's lighting to your liking," Michaelsen adds.
An adjustable floor lamp can also be great, and some sort of reading light near the bed that you can control while you lie down can be cozy. "If you share a room with your partner, each person should have their own reading light," Michaelsen says. And for areas in the room that need brighter lighting, like a closet or dressing area, she recommends installing battery-operated, motion-sensored LED lights.
The more control you have over the lighting in your interior environments, and the more awareness you have about how you can affect and change these things, and take matters into your own hands, the better you'll feel. You'll be a regular lighting designer in no time.