The third letter of the CREATION Health acronym, “E,” is Environment. Environment is the world around you, be it your home, office, car or wherever you spend time. During creation, the Garden of Eden was an ideal environment, complete with beautiful sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

Blessed by exceptionally warm weather, I was walking my dog on a Sunday afternoon in January and noticed that many houses in the neighborhoods I walked through had cars in their driveways and their garage doors open. The garages were being used as storage units with everything from old high chairs to Christmas trees stacked inside. I can only image the sense of disorganization you would feel walking into these homes. And if the garage is filled, what do the closets and basement look like?

From my front yard, through my home and out the back door, I work hard to create an environment that represents my Garden of Eden. I get a sense of calm when I pull into my driveway. I work hard all summer long to have a beautiful yard filled with flowers. What a reward it will be this spring as the hundreds of tulips, daffodils and crocus I planted begin popping up out of the ground and bloom in a blanket of colors! It’s hard to be motivated by tired, overgrown landscaping and a weed filled yard. Yet, that’s what many people see when they come home.

From battling the never-ending clutter associated with kids to dealing with the lack of time to get things done, it can seem hard to give your environment a makeover. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few easy things you can do to get started.

  • Surround yourself with things you love. I love contemporary art. Each year at the Plaza and Brookside art fairs in Kansas City where I live, my wife and I search out new art to brighten our walls. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A $20 print in a Target frame can have a great impact. No matter what your passion is, you should represent it in your personal space.
  • De-clutter! Do you have a pile of old catalogs and other mail sitting in your kitchen? Are there things you don’t use anymore that, rather than recycle or donate, you let sit to forever age in your basement? As you remove your environmental clutter you will likely find that you have greater personal focus.
  • Let the sun shine in! Have you ever entered a home where the blinds and curtains were closed during the daytime? I have friends whose homes are like this. Not only is it dark inside, it’s not inviting—almost as if they are purposely closing themselves off from the outside world. I open my curtains and blinds and bring as much light into my home and office as possible. Not only does it brighten things up, it promotes a more uplifting, creative environment.

No matter how you make your environment your own, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Kids, pets and co-workers may influence the spaces in which you spend the majority of your time. But if you make simple changes you will see a difference in the space.

Finally, remember that the letters of the CREATION Health acronym don’t live independently. By making the Choice to have a clean Environment you can Rest more soundly and restore your body for greater Activity (explored in upcoming post #4).

Guest author Doug Spear is administrative director of marketing and communications at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a series of lifestyle transformation classes using the CREATION Health principles. For more information, visit