When we imagine ways to make ourselves happier, we usually think of doing something fun, and we don't normally pay attention to what's going on in our own home. However, environment can greatly impact our mood, and there are a number of ways you can make your home a happier place. You don't need to spend a bunch of money on redecorate to get your house or apartment to ooze happy vibes — instead a few quick tweaks can help bring up the mood and have you feeling more relaxed when at home.
"Your environment can impact your mood," says clinical psychologist Dr. Lamees Khorshid over email. "Your brain is constantly scanning the environment to send messages to your brain. You take in information through what you see, hear, touch, and smell. This information is translated in your brain and to your cellular system to produce either positive or negative emotion."
With this logic, it only makes since to fill your personal space with things that evoke positive emotion. Although everyone has different personal preferences, there are some little tricks that science shows can help almost everyone. If you're not sure where to begin, consider these 11 hacks to help make your home happier.
1. Put Up Beautiful Images
"Use pictures, paintings, or screen savers that have positive imagery, nature scenes, or uplifting messages," says Khorshid. "Exposure to beautiful or inspiring images stimulate feelings of joy even at cellular levels."
2. Use A Dry Erase Board For A Gratitude List
Usually when talking expressing gratitude, we think of writing in a journal, but keeping it out in the open on a dry erase board can help keep act as a visual reminder of the positives. "Gratitude has been strongly linked to producing happy mood states," says Khorshid. "Gratitude reflections shift your mindset from the typical worry and to do lists to reflection on the good already in your life."
3. Keep It Clean
Keeping a clean house doesn't just look good — it can help you feel good too. A study from Indiana University found that people with cleaner homes are healthier and more active.
4. Get Rid Of Junk
And while you're keeping your home clutter free and organized, it can help to get rid of items you don't need anymore. In fact, having much stuff can actually be stressful. Research from UCLA found that women who own homes with a "high density of household objects" have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
5. Put Up Photographs Of Loved Ones
"Display photographs of loved ones, meaningful relationships, and happy memories," says Khorsid. "Relationships and experiences bring joy. Calling to mind meaningful relationships and positive memories provides a sense of comfort while also decreasing stress responses with comforting and supportive cues."
6. Use Aromatherapy
"Use aromatherapy, candles or room spray with scents that are calming, energizing, or nostalgic," says Khrosid. "Our olfactory response is linked to the emotional center of the brain, causing similar feelings of those experienced in past memories. Certain scents can also stimulate happy or calming mood states. Lavender can bring about calm, fresh cut grass can stimulate joy, citrus can ignite energy, and pine can decrease stress."
7. Repaint Your Walls
The colors of your walls matter for more than just aesthetics. So what colors should you choose? A study from Vije University in Amsterdam found that green or yellow walls evoke the most feelings of happiness.
8. Play Music
"Mood boosting music can elevate your happiness, while calming music can reduce your stress," says Khorsid. A study from the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks.
9. Add Some Plants
"Research shows that nature is very healing for stress, anxiety and feeling depressed," says Dr. Emma Seppälä, Stanford University psychologist, happiness expert and author of “The Happiness Track over email. "See if you can include more nature into your home: plants, fountains, and larger windows."
10. Create A Sacred Space
"Dedicate a 'sacred space," says Seppälä. "Whether or not you consider yourself spiritual, having a space dedicated to you-time, where you can sit and relax and think of the things you feel grateful for, may immediately lead to feelings of stress-relief and well-being."
11. Let In Some Light
It's time to open those curtains and blinds. Natural light is important, as exposure to light is linked to improved mood, according to research from Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.
At the end of the day, the more comfortable you feel in your home, the more relaxed you will be.
Images: Monkey Business/Fotolia; Pixabay (10)