9 simple changes to make you happier at home
Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives. Here’re just a few of those:
1. Make your bed
Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.
2. Bring every room back to "ready"
It's a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to "ready" before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)
3. Display sentimental items around your home
One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.
4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal
Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, "What was the best part of today?") Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude.
5. If you can't get out of it, get into it
This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it. (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favourite album at an unusually loud volume, and pretend you love it.
6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day
In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says "Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it." Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today."
7. Do small favours for your housemates, expecting nothing in return
That's right, I said it: Nothing! Not even a thank you! Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it.
Take the bins out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.
8. Call at least one friend or family member a day
You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socialising with our loved ones makes us feel better.
9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home
Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax.Back to articles