QUESTION OF THE WEEK: You don’t write about the typical things I hear associated with feng shui, such as crystals, directions, lucky numbers and such. Why not? What is it that you do?

Thank you for your question! I get asked this a lot, so I’m glad you wrote in. When I studied feng shui consultations, I found that many people liked the idea of “better energy” in the home, yet wanted to avoid hanging crystals or doing anything too obviously “feng shui-ish,” such as hanging bamboo flutes and placing Fu Dogs at the door.

Further research and study

That prompted me to research and study anything that had to do with environmental energy, and how to improve it. Of the many topics I covered, environmental psychology and neuroarchitecture were the most relevant. So, to improve energy flow, I used those principles to augment feng shui.


Below are two simple concepts from the fields of environmental psychology and neuroarchitecture that you can take into consideration when creating a better energy in your own home.

Comfort is key when it comes to environmental psychology

Environmental psychology is the study of the relationship between the environment and its inhabitants. It says that if the seating in the home makes people feel warm and comfortable, their social experiences — and their moods — will be positively enhanced.

The influence of your surroundings on your mood is significant. For example, if we are in a positive mood, we tend to get along better with others, make better decisions, are better problem solvers, and are more creative, mentally efficient, flexible, understanding, generous and socially responsible. (This is a great “excuse” to get new furniture!)


Create “hugs” using neuroarchitectural principles

Neuroarchitecture, different from environmental psychology, but also applicable to feng shui, is a blend of science and art — the study of how architecture affects the human experience. Factors such as light, space and room layout affect physical and psychological well-being, and these are related to stress, emotion, memory and more.


When setting up a room at a feng shui consultation, I strive to create “hugs” by rounding out the corners of the room — angling furniture, placing a plant or positioning a lamp in the corners — and making people in the room feel more nurtured. I also suggest using round or oval tables, to balance the abundance of straight edges in the room.

Neuroarchitecture also suggests using curves, as they help to nurture contentment and well-being. Findings clearly show that sharpness in the environment stimulates a mild fear reaction in the brain.

The support of feng shui

Finding science that supports feng shui allows us to create an effectively supportive environment that doesn’t look “feng shui’d.” Mission accomplished.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui (formerly known as Gentry Pacific Design Center) on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. Visit online at