Monday, June 24, 2013

Is your house making you happy?

Martha Beck, Oprah's Life Coach, has written an article about how to create positive (and happy) energy in our homes. It's such a good concept, but not something most of us think of on our own, so we wanted to share her key points:

*think of each area of your home - your entry way, your hallway, bedroom...and think about what emotion comes to mind. Does the space make you happy, anxious, stressed?
*the spaces that illicit a negative emotion...think about why. Martha helps by listing a few possibilities:
  • Sensory elements are everything you experience physically. Start with the visuals. How do the room's colors, lighting, and patterns make you feel? Touch-elements, such as texture and temperature, are also important; if your fabulous industrial-modern chairs are hard and cold, you'll never be able to fully relax in them. Don't forget the smells and sounds that waft through a space—the fragrance of aromatherapy, the laughter of friends, the quiet that means your children are plotting some outrage.

  • Utility refers to the usefulness of a space. Is it convenient to do whatever you need to do there? A friend bought a zillion-dollar refrigerator, which, it turned out, could be opened only by a strong man, preferably one using explosives. My friend's kitchen was spectacular—and she was miserable in it until she trashed that fridge.

  • Organization is about order and chaos, ranging from absolute precision to the full-on catastrophe of a teenager's bedroom. Nothing is more depressing than clutter run riot—except for antiseptic cleanliness, complete with plastic upholstery covers. Is your space too tidy, or too spartan? Either merits change.

  • Association can charge even a perfect-seeming space with negative emotions. If you decorated your bathroom to please the ex who dumped you, or you slavishly copied your mother's taste until therapy revealed you're absolutely nothing like her, then your home may be dragging you down. Time to redecorate.
An example: clients of ours whom were refinancing to renovate, recently noted their kitchen as "dreary". Martha encourages us to think of the opposite feeling...whatever comes to mind. For the clients, the opposite of their "dreary" was "homey". Their definition of homey, included country kitchen cabinets and pine floors which made them happy just thinking about the change and even happier when it was finished.
By recognizing and embracing your power to change one small space at a time, you can use your gut, heart, and brain to make sure your home takes you further toward happiness and satisfaction.