Is Your Home Making You Happy?

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I thought you might be interested in this discussion of how your home can be a powerful influence on your emotions and if it such a force, how do we create an environment that makes you happier?

Take a tour of your home. Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Start from outside the front door and notice your mood. Are you feeling tense or relaxed? Are you happy – or anxious, angry, or depressed?

As you walk in, do you feel relief, excitement, anxiety, dread, joy, or despair? Briefly write down your feelings.

Continue to pay attention to your emotional reactions as you walk through your entire home even those places that make us feel uncomfortable. As you enter each room note how your mood changes. Perhaps the soft light and scented soap in your bathroom make you feel relaxed, but you tense up when you near the disorganized pile of unpaid bills in your home office. Maybe you love the thought of snuggling into the soft cushions on your living-room couch, but you feel gloomy as you approach the darkness of your bedroom closet.

Give each area of your home a number representing how you feel in that space.

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Don’t forget to take into account the smells and sounds of a room!
If your breakfast nook fills you with bliss, give it a score of +10. If an area is disgusting, it gets a -10. If you feel nothing at all about a room, it gets a score of 0. If a room is okay but not great, it may get a +4, and so on. Pinpoint the problems. Go to the lowest number on your list. Imagine standing in the designated space, and scan it slowly with your mind’s eye. Observe how your mood reacts to different elements of the room.

Sensory elements are everything you experience physically. Start with the visuals. How do the room’s colors, lighting, and patterns make you feel?

Touch things, are your modern chairs are hard and cold, you’ll never be able to fully relax in them.

Utility: Is it convenient to do whatever you need to do there?

Organization is about order and chaos. Is your space too tidy, or too cluttered? Either merits change.

The Fix!

Once you’ve identified your least favorite part of your least favorite area of your home, write out a list three adjectives that describe your less than delighted assessment of it. For example, your kitchen might be “disorganized,” “cluttered,” and “crowded.” Perhaps a corner of your family room is “stark,” “unremarkable,” and “boring.” Then list an antonym for each one. For instance, an obvious antonym for disorganized is organized. For boring, you might use exciting. Now think of objects would suit the space and would cure your antonym. Kitchen items that fit the word organized might be drawer dividers and ceiling-hung cookware racks might come to mind. If the antonym for a stark family room is comforting, you might want to add big pillows and homey wallpaper. Focus your attention on the objects, colors, and lighting you could use to transform the room.

Bring in one thing that makes you happy, and you’ll think of ways you can complement that object. Transforming one area of your home from an emotional downer to a source of uplift has a double benefit: It cheers you up, and it reminds you of your capacity to create places that shelter you emotionally as well as physically. By recognizing that you have the power to change one small space, you can move on to make sure that your whole home brings you happiness and satisfaction.