Feng Shui originated in China over 4000 years ago and its practice has a long history throughout the East. Similar ideas have also existed in other parts of the world at one time or another. The notion that the "spirit" or atmosphere of a place has an effect on your well-being is widely accepted, but in Feng Shui it has developed into a complex integrated system of theory and practice that embraces almost every aspect of people's lives.

The underlying premise of Feng Shui is that everything in your surroundings, down to the smallest details of furnishing and decor, can either further your aims in life or work against you. By understanding the subtle currents of energy that flow through your body and through everything in the universe, you can arrange your living and working environments to help you to reach your goals.

The key principles have developed over the centuries. The concept of yin and yang describes two broad types of energy that connects people and their surroundings. The Five Elements and the Eight Directions refine this further to provide a sophisticated set of principles for understanding the way energy moves through the home and immediate environment to affect all areas of life.

Applying these principles to your own life and circumstances can help you to get a job or understand why you have lost one. It can help you decide the best time to set out on a journey, embark on a new enterprise or a new relationship, and the most favorable direction to move. It can help smooth difficult family relationships, or ease your way to finding a partner in life or business. It can make your work more productive and your leisure time more rewarding.

When applying Feng Shui to your life there are several approaches. You may be planning to move to a new home or even to build a one, but more often you will already be settled in a home, and would like to improve the atmosphere there or solve particular problems in your life. The problem-solving approach is often the most productive. It is better to focus on solving specific problems rather than to make blank changes to your home. Make sure you do not use Feng Shui to invent problems that do not exist. If life is going well, limit the changes to fine-tunning. Implement one solution at a time and assess the result, before going on to another one.

Above all, do not expect Feng Shui to be the answer to all your problems. It is only one of many influences on your life. The success of Feng Shui largely depends on how realistic your expectations are. It is most effective when you can relate a problem to something about your home, and make necessary changes.

The first step is to identify a problem. If you have been living in a place for some time assess how your life has changed since you moved in. When people move home their lives often change for better or worse. Make lists of areas where you have had problems, and those you would like to improve. Relationships, finances and career usually figure in either or both lists. Next work out more specifically why you are having these problems. If you are in financial difficulties, for example, is it because your income has declined or your expenses have shot up? If you cannot find a romantic partner, is it because you do not go out and meet people or overwhelm those you do meet? Is your career a standstill because your efforts are not being noticed or you have lost your ambition?

The answers should suggest a solution: to make more money or cut down expenses, to be more sociable or less aggressive, to be more assertive, more motivated or set your horizons higher. Only now you can begin to think of applying Feng Shui to make sure your environment is helping you to achieve your aims rather than frustrating them. >>

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