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SIMPLE STEPS TO A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER HOME

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Mar 19, 2015

Girls on piggy bag with ice cream

Small efforts, big effects: from maximising your use of light, to increasing ventilation; from dinner with friends to getting more green in your life, take up the challenge to change

By Rin Hamburgh

1. MAKE YOUR BED

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Pulitzer prize winner, Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit) and best-selling author, Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) both insist that making your bed is linked with increased productivity and being better able to stick to a budget. Doing so, they claim, can even make you happier. By getting into the routine of completing this simple chore each day, you will set what is known as a ‘keystone habit’, something that will have a positive domino effect on other areas of your life. It doesn’t take much much more than a few minutes, but the impact could be enormous.

2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT COLOUR

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Colour psychology is based on the idea that each colour has its own inherent qualities, which subconsciously affect our mood. We each have shades that resonate with us - you may love sunshine yellow because it was the colour of a favourite childhood dress, or hate it because it reminds you of an old school uniform. But, there are some principles that can be applied across the board. For example, if you can’t stand the cold then fill your house with warm tones, or if you want to create harmony, avoid passionate, aggressive red and choose a soft blue or a natural green instead.

3. BUY SOME PLANTS

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Eco-therapists tell us that being surrounded by nature does wonders for our wellbeing. Regular walks in the countryside are hugely beneficial, and studies have shown that even just looking out onto a green view can give us a boost. If that’s not possible, bring nature indoors with a collection of house plants. A recent Dutch study showed that these are effective in reducing stress levels. Plants regulate humidity, reduce CO2 and increase oxygen levels, so both your mind and your body will thank you.

4. INCREASE NATURAL LIGHT

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Most of us instinctively know that natural light is something we want in our homes, but you may not know exactly why. In fact, there are many reasons. For a start, it helps regulate your body clock (or circadian rhythm). It also affects production of vital vitamin D in your body, not to mention hormone and gene function. It’s even good at killing off dust mites and bacteria. So, be sure to pull your curtains wide, using tie backs to maximise your window space. Install mirrors to reflect what light you have, and choose glass or non-solid furniture to allow it to fill the room.

5. PRINT OUT PICTURES

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Surrounding yourself with happy memories and the faces of your loved ones is a sure fire way to bring a smile to your face but, admit it - most of yours are hidden away on a computer hard drive where they’re rarely seen, right? Make the effort to get some of yours printed out and framed, or invest in a digital frame so you can cycle through a selection of your favourite images. You’ll definitely have a happier home.

6. CHECK YOUR VENTILATION

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Mould and damp, headaches and respiratory disease - ventilation may not be a sexy topic but, when it goes wrong it can really cause problems. If you want your home to be happy and healthy, you can’t live in a sealed box. There are plenty of solutions, from ventilation strips to extractor fans and even dedicated high-tech systems. If in doubt, be sure to regularly open all the windows wide and give your home a good airing.

7. THE MORE THE MERRIER

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The New Economics Foundation, a think tank dedicated to well being, highlights ‘Connecting’ as one of its ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’. Relationships are vital to our mental health, and it’s important that we invest in them so that they thrive. Having a few friends round can really fill your house with fun, lively energy. Get out your diary, pick up the phone and invite a few people round. Invest in some great dinnerware - maybe a cocktail shaker or a fondue set - and resolve to make hospitality your new goal.

8. GO GREEN

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We all need to feel that we’re making a difference, however small, in society - in fact, it’s part of the World Health Organisation’s definition of wellbeing. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is definitely a worthwhile way to do just that. From recycling to using green energy, there are so many ways to take care of the planet in our everyday lives. Yes, it takes a bit more effort, but we’ve all got a part to play and the rewards are huge.

9. ROTA THOSE CHORES

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Having a happy home is as much about how smoothly life runs within it as it is about bricks and mortar. No one likes chores but, if you can’t cook because the pots and pans are all in the sink, or you’re constantly sneezing because of the dust, you’re ever going to be happy - no matter how expensive your furniture or how well your colours match. Make sure housework gets done on time - and without argument - by creating a rota that divides up the essential tasks, asking everyone to contribute their thoughts and agree on deadlines.


One thought on “SIMPLE STEPS TO A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER HOME”

  • Rachel said:

    March 24, 2015

    Love this article! Some good tips that I'll definitely take on board.


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