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What Do Candles and Light Bulbs Have in Common?

Candles burning

Flick off the overhead lights. Light a candle. Turn on a lamp or two and sit. It’s 7pm in November and dark outside (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). It’s dim and cozy inside and your body and mind relax. Fast forward to 2pm tomorrow. Bright sunlight outdoors; bright inside. You’re energized and ready for action. Close the shades, turn off the lights, light a candle or two. Hmm, doesn’t feel right. Why? Our bodies are programmed to ebb and flow based primarily on our circadian rhythms (how our body acts and reacts based on external cues).

Our bodies want to synchronize with our environment. As the sun rises, our bodies rev up, and as it sets, we do the same. Or so the theory goes.

Lighting Is a Game Changer: How Lighting Affects Our Health

hand and light

We give relatively little thought to lighting and its effect on our health. Picture this…you’re outside in bright sunlight and you walk into a store with fluorescent lighting overhead, the kind where you feel like a gray fog has descended upon you as soon as you step past the sliding doors. Not a good feeling. You feel drained, deflated, dull, dim.

What if you work in an environment like this?

Imagine a space where you walk in and there is a host of lighting. There are sconces, pendant lamps, floor and table lamps, overhead lighting and desk lighting. What a difference! This is not only an energizing and inspiring environment; it is also a soothing and relaxing place to be.

Where would you want to work? To go to school? To live? To shop?

The Effects of Indoor Spaces on Our Health

Clean Energy pic w lightbulb

How do our indoor spaces affect us? Most of us don’t give this much thought. But as we listen to the green building industry and consider the myriad chemicals that are outgassed from the products and materials that we build, design and decorate our indoors with, it gives us pause.

Consider this…we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. We sleep indoors all night, get up, jump in our car, work indoors all day, go back home, go to bed. A little simplified, sure. But for the most part, true.

What can we do?

The Cost of Stress

stressed businesswoman

“According to the World Health Organization, the cost of stress to American businesses is as high as $300 billion,” Arianna Huffington notes. Staggering. What are we doing to our workforce? Or what are we not doing for them?

First, we have to acknowledge where these $300 billion are going. Health care costs to businesses skyrocket when employees don’t feel good. There are five aspects to health: mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual. We give our employees a comfortable, safe place to work and often a gym to exercise in…that’s physical. We are opening up the work environment to create spaces for collaboration…social. Spiritual is really not in the realm of companies to address. What are we doing about the emotional and the mental? We’re working our employees to the brink.