Nobody can say exactly what happiness is, but we certainly know what things increase our well-being. Here’s how to have more of that at home.
“Happiness” is the latest lifestyle buzzword. It’s something we all search for, and that philosophers have been pondering for, literally, millennia.
What does it mean to be happy? What is the best way to reach happiness? What makes humans happy, and what takes away their happiness? It’s more than a question of pleasure and pain–it’s about finding a certain contentment in life, where we are satisfied with what we have and what we do.
But this post isn’t about how to find happiness. It’s about how you can make your home a happiness-enhancing space, supported by research. Here are some easy ways to make your home a happier place.
1. Set up an exercise space
Regular physical activity is a vital component of human health. But more than a strong heart and a lean body, exercise is a great way to release endorphins, the happy hormone.
Regular exercise fights depression, keeps your brain and body healthy, and gives you a sense of purpose, an essential component of a happy life.
To encourage regular exercise, you can set up a small workout corner in your living room or use an empty room as a home gym. Even simply keeping a corner of your bedroom for a yoga mat for a few stretches in the morning is enough to motivate you to get you moving every day.
2. Encourage better sleep
Sleep deprivation may be one of the worst consequences of our frenetic, over-busied lives. If you’ve ever had a bout of insomnia or recently had to stay up all night, you know what I’m talking about. On the day after, your brain is sluggish, your decision-making skills are lowered, your reaction time is shorter, and so is your emotional fuse. Personally, on a day after bad or not enough sleep, I’m cranky, overly emotional and crave sugar all day. And let’s not talk about how I can’t get any work done!
In any case, you can encourage better sleep with some simple decor changes. Choose a soothing, relaxing color like blue, green or purple for your walls and your bedding. Make sure the room is cool and has fresh air during the night. (I personally cannot stand a closed door for sleeping.) Choose soft, wicking sheets to keep you from waking up in pools of sweat.
Getting plenty of sleep is essential for day-to-day functioning, and chronic sleep deprivation is a major obstacle to happiness. Sleep more–you’ll be happy you did.
3. Put up a meditation corner
Meditation is more than a fad going around in business circles. It’s been proven to change brain patterns and increase happiness. I’ve talked about meditation before, and I credit my regular meditation practice for a better sense of well-being, controlling my depression symptoms and the ability to make better decisions.
You can meditate anywhere: on the bus, in bed, waiting for your water to boil. But setting up a meditation corner with a small altar and a cushion always at the ready can help you make this practice a regular, daily activity, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
Of course, you can always dedicate a full room to meditation, which I would totally do if I had the space. But in the meantime, you can set up a meditation corner in a quiet space in your home to do this incredibly beneficial activity.
4. Get a new hobby
When life is just work, work, work, we lose sense of who we are and of what brings us pleasure. That’s why having hobbies is so important. Challenging yourself to learn a new skill, even if it’s sculpting ducks out of driftwood, tells us that our brains can learn and enjoy something new.
Many dedicated hobbyists have a dedicated room in their home for their materials. As a knitter, I dedicate quite a bit of storage space to my projects, yarns and accessories. I’m also learning how to sew, which opens another big can of storage worms…
In any case, you can encourage the practice of your hobby by making its materials (and the space to practice it) easily accessible. I always have a basket of current knitting projects next to the couch so I can pick it up while watching TV or chatting with friends, for example. Whatever your hobby, I’m sure you can find some space to make it easily available and encourage its practice!
There are plenty of other ways to encourage happiness at home, like using yellow or keeping fresh flowers and green plants. But more subtle uses of space for the deliberate practice of things that make us happy is also part of it.
Have you tried any of the things above? Let us know in the comments!